Light scanners and distance sensors for the operation of autonomous robots

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Playing with Maximum Precision

Robot becomes German champion in board game with technology from Leuze electronic

The fully automatic robot "Scrat" is the result of six months of intensive development work by a team of students from TU Dresden Robotik AG e.V. In 2011, Scrat was entered into the race for the championship title in the "Eurobot" international robot competition.

Playing on a 3 x 2 m area, the object is to detect, collect and place cylindrical elements on the correctly colored checkerboard squares. Two robots from different teams go head to head with one another at the same time and attempt to take into their possession as many cylindrical game pieces as possible within 90 seconds without having them stolen by the opponent.

This scenario results in a number of requirements. Particularly important is a robot's ability to acquire precise information about the position of the opponent and of the cylinders and to do so as quickly and as reliably as possible.

To accomplish this, optical distance sensors of the ODSL 8 series from Leuze electronic were used. Due to the invariably good experiences with the series, the decision to use it again was an easy one: the exceptionally precise distance measurements over a large area with maximum reliability combined with practical, immediate availability of the measurement data made possible an optimum overview of the current game situation.

The measurement results of two distance sensors were merged to then calculate the exact position of the detected cylinder by means of software. The calculated values were more precise than the robot's drive control – as a result, nothing stood in the way of successfully collecting the elements.

To protect the actuators from damage and to collect further information about the surroundings, a number of diffuse reflection light scanners with background suppression of the 2 series were also used. The team was also familiar with these sensors from previous projects. The devices are highly valued due to their extremely small installation size combined with a one-hundred-percent detection rate. Thanks to the background suppression, very dark or even reflective surfaces were no problem. As a result, the sensors could be used everywhere moving parts interact with the environment and the robot needs to respond to unexpected situations. Damage to the mechanical components could always be reliably prevented thanks to the light scanner.

Scrat was extremely successful: he was crowned German champion and claimed third place in international competition. This was possible not least of all due to high-quality and reliable sensors from the Leuze electronic product catalog.


Martin Oemus is a project manager at TU Dresden Robotik AG e.V.


  • Secteur/domaine

    Technique de Manipulation de Matériels, Intralogistique

  • Cahier des charges

    Contrôle de présence, Distance, la détection de situation

  • Application

    Light scanners and distance sensors for the operation of autonomous robots


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