The patent's assignee for patent application serial number 709088 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a carrier, and more particularly, to a carrier which automatically travels on a pathway.
"In the related art, a carrier which automatically travels on a pathway is known. For example, the carrier includes an environmental map storage unit, a distance measuring sensor, and a control unit.
"The environmental map storage unit stores an environmental map which indicates a region in which structures configuring the pathway are present and a region in which the structures are not present. For example, the distance measuring sensor is provided in the front of the carrier and scans laser light over a range of 270.degree. of the front of the carrier. Thereby, the distance measuring sensor obtains positional data of reflectors based on the reflected light from the structures which configure the pathway and obtains pathway information. The control unit performs calculation of the position of the carrier by collating the environmental map and the obtained path information (for example, refer to JP 2010-86416A).
"For example, in a warehouse or the like, loads are placed at locations other than the pathway on which the carrier travels. Since the distance measuring sensor detects the reflected light from all obstacles, the distance measuring sensor also detects the reflected light from the loads in addition to the structures of the pathway. Thereby, the positional data of the reflectors are different according to presence or absence of the loads or differences of shapes of the loads, and in this case, the pathway information cannot be correctly obtained. As a result, the position of the carrier cannot be correctly obtained."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "An object of the present invention is to correctly obtain a position of a carrier in which the position is known by detecting reflected light through a distance measuring sensor.
"Hereinafter, a plurality of aspects are described as means for solving the above-described problems. These aspects may be combined as desired according to necessity.
"A carrier according to an aspect of the present invention includes a carrier main body, a distance measuring sensor, a map data storage unit, an approximate line calculation unit, and a position calculation unit.
"The carrier main body travels on a pathway including a first area and a second area other than the first area.
"The distance measuring sensor is provided in the carrier main body, measures an intensity of reflected light a plurality of times, and obtains a plurality of pieces of measured data.
"The map data storage unit stores map data in which structures provided along the pathway are recorded.
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