|How does robotic positioning work?
|Old surveying principles are being used to guide modern machinery|
A robot measures only three parameters: A vertical angle, a horizontal angle and the distance to a target. In our case, the target is mounted on top of a mast that in turn is mounted on the moldboard. The target is mounted on a mast so that an optical line of sight to the robot can be maintained no matter the orientation of the grader.
Both angles are measured by pointing the telescopic axis of the robot towards the target. This turns the two on-board angle sensors, enabling the angles to the target to be read. Now that the robot is pointed toward the target, it sends out infrared light that gets reflected from the target back to the robot. From this reflection, the robot can determine the distance to the target.
The robot is set up over a known point in the job site's coordinate system. Because the control box in the grader knows the coordinates of the robot, it can calculate the Northing, Easting and Elevation of the target from the angles and slope distances it receives.
After the angles and distances have been turned into coordinates, the 3D grade control system can commence generating cut/fill information to display to the operator or to drive the hydraulics. You can learn more about how a 3D grade control system does that HERE.
At the time of this writing, Leica, Trimble and Topcon are the only companies offering robotic total stations specifically designed for 3D machine control application.
However, some 3D machine control system from other manufacturers may be able to use one or more of the above-mentioned robots.
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