Ultrasonic sensor provides multiple object scanning over wide viewing

Navigation systems for autonomous vehicles are among the applications for new sensor from
Navigation systems for autonomous vehicles are among the applications for a new sensor from Toposens (Pixabay)

Using ultrasound scanning, the Toposens TS3 sensor is an embedded sensor system that achieves a wide field of view of up to 160° and provide simultaneous 3D measurements for multiple objects within the scanning area. The sensor is suited for various applications in the autonomous systems market that require a strong need for reliable object detection and situational awareness.

In addition to cars, use cases include home cleaning robots and delivery/service robots. The TS3 sensor enables them to reliably map an environment with minimal processing power and to localize themselves in predefined maps to execute complex path planning algorithms. The sensors are unaffected by ambient light and can detect mirrored and transparent surfaces.

Toposens’ TS3 ultrasonic sensor is suitable for many autonomous systems applications that require a strong need for reliable object detection and situational awareness.
Toposens’ TS3 ultrasonic sensor is suitable for many autonomous systems applications
that require a strong need for reliable object detection and situational awareness.

The sensor sends out ultrasound waves in a frequency range inaudible by humans. An array of microphones subsequently records the echoes from all objects in the sensor’s vicinity and computes their location in a 3D space. The sensor provides a detection range of up to 5 meters and a scan rate of approximately 28 Hz. The TS3 returns up to 200 points per second with each 3D point corresponding to the Cartesian coordinates.

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Due to its wide viewing angle and multiple object detection capability, the ultrasonic sensor mimics the echolocation techniques used by bats and dolphins for navigation and orientation in the wild.

“Because our new “Bat Vision” TS3 sensor is compact, affordable and integration-ready,” saidTobias Bahnemann, Managing Director of Toposens, in a statement. “Engineers can easily add it to their sensor stacks to replace or complement their existing optical sensing systems, providing both redundancy and an improved level of accuracy compared to standard ultrasonic sensors in various autonomous navigation applications.”

The sensor’s core technology is based on the Toposens’ SoundVision1 chip, making the sensor system easily adaptable to various product designs. This makes the TS3 a suitable technology platform to develop next-level mass market vehicles in robotic and even automotive use cases like automated parking and next-level ADAS functionality.

Along with the TS3 sensor, Toposens offers a feature-rich toolkit for the Robotics Operating System (ROS) middleware, making the sensor easy to integrate into preexisting systems and enabling fast prototyping for high-level navigation capabilities. The team is currently working on adding advanced decision-making algorithms to their software and complimentary tutorial stack.

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