Sensors for robotic perception. Part two: positional and environmental awareness

Robert Bogue (Consultant, Okehampton)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 19 October 2015



The purpose of this article is to illustrate how sensors impart perceptive capabilities to robots. This is the second part of a two-part article. This second part considers positional awareness and sensing in the external environment, notably but not exclusively by autonomous, mobile robots.


Following a short introduction, this article first discusses positional sensing and navigation by mobile robots, including self-driving cars, automated guided vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). It then considers sensing with UAVs and AUVs, and finally discusses robots for hazard detection. Brief concluding comments are drawn.


This shows that sensors based on a multitude of techniques confer navigational capabilities to mobile robots, including LIDARs, radar, sonar, imaging and inertial sensing devices. UAVs, AUVs and mobile terrestrial robots can be equipped with all manner of sensors to create detailed terrestrial and underwater maps, monitor air and water quality, locate pollution and detect hazards. While existing sensors are used widely, many new devices are now being developed to meet specific requirements and to comply with size, weight and cost restraints.


The use of mobile robots is growing rapidly, and this article provides a timely account of how sensors confer them with positional awareness and allow them to act as mobile sensing platforms.



Bogue, R. (2015), "Sensors for robotic perception. Part two: positional and environmental awareness", Industrial Robot, Vol. 42 No. 6, pp. 502-507.

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