Id like to create a small "car" alike robot (4 wheels and steering via servo) that will travel around my house.

Id like the robot to be able to go and charge itself when its batteries are low, I do have a plan for the battery, connections, and charging timing, the only thing I am missing as for right now is a way to make the pi steer its way towards the charger that may move from area to another around the house.

Is there any peripheral that will allow the pi to check what direction and approximate the distance between itself the charger?


If you're doing something indoors, GPS will not work and the best approach will be with an Inertial Navigation System on an arduino board, something like what is shown here https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11028.

You should also look into the degree of variance with these system on a chip gyros as they have a degree of variance just laying around. See the blog post http://randomsenseless.blogspot.jp/2013/06/arduino-based-inertial-navigation.html for someone who has done this type of testing.

If you really want to demonstrate for yourself, get an android phone and download a raw sensor app that lets you log the output and lay the phone on a table to see how much variance the phone thinks it is moving while laying flat on a table.

  • Thank you for answering. very thoughtful and expanding answer. I have one last question about it. I tried look online for an answer but there simply werent much info about INS systems. How much would such a system cost? – iSoda Jul 17 '15 at 17:11

For everyone who might look for a same system as I do in the future.

What I wanted to create is essentially a roomba robot that doesnt clean (maybe in future) just travel around the house and charges itself.

I found this video which explain the roomba docking mechanism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCX-1KN_6GE

you can see that the roomba spinning around and looking around while looking for an infra red sensor in the charger. once it finds it, it alligns with it and starts moving towards it. This is a cheap, easy, alternative to INS. however as the guy in the video says, sometimes the rooma run out of batteries due to itself not finding the station which will accure in every other robot using this system unless youll leave it in a squared room forever.

I hope it helps to anyone.

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