New 3D Ultrasonic Echolocation Sensor Helps Avoid Collisions

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Inspired by bats, the sensor generates echolocation waves to create robust, real-time 3D mapping for guiding autonomous systems

Existing sensor technologies can be negatively impacted by lighting conditions or moisture (such as fog), making them difficult to operate.

But the ECHO ONE DK, a 3D Collision Avoidance Sensor by Toposens GmbH is based on 3D ultrasonic technology and generates robust echolocation waves (similar to a bat) to create robust, real-time 3D echolocation data for guiding autonomous systems across a variety of applications.

This allows unhindered sensing performance in harsh environments (featuring the IP67 protection rating), as it is dirt tolerant and not affected by dust, smoke and mist.

The sensor is an ideal solution for detecting forklifts forks in a 3D space.

The ECHO ONE DK features 3D multi-object detection of complex and transparent objects in an ultra-short operating range from 20cm up to 3m.

It has an ultra-wide Field-of-View of up to 180° in ultra-short range and up to 110° at 3m.

Low power consumption of 2.2 W supports a longer uptime and is fully certified according to CE, FCC and IP67 regulations. For easy integration, the ECHO ONE DK comes with a CAN and USB interface and the following software packages: Toposens Sensor Library (C++-Library), ROS Implementation Package, Cross-Platform Toposens 3D Visualizer.

Despite being considered safe and more reliable than traditional transportation methods, AGVs are prone to navigation management issues such as deadlocks and collisions (e.g. not detecting forklift forks accurately), which can lead to high repair costs and damaged AGVs, broken cargo, production stoppages and in the worst case, personal injuries.

This makes the need for advanced sensor-based safety features highly important for preventing costly collisions while increasing automation efficiency by minimising deadlocks.

“Our 3D ultrasonic sensor precisely perceives its environment and reliably detects accident-causing objects such as forklift forks and even the smallest items lying in the path of an AGV, whilst yielding robust, light-tolerant data. To reduce accidents to zero, the demand for safety sensors of all kinds is growing. Especially for 3D perception, an area not covered by the typically used 2D safety LiDARs,” said Alexander Rudoy, Co-Founder and CTO of Toposens GmbH.

“The in-built, Toposens-own, best-in-class 3D collision avoidance features for added machine safety make it a cost-effective, reliable and efficient solution, which will help your AGV, robot, or other application avoid collisions with all kinds of obstacles, even in the roughest environments.”


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