the basics
What types of navigation exist?
The first robot vacuum cleaner in the world was the Electrolux Trilobite. In it, and in many subsequent models, the principle of random navigation was used. The robot vacuum cleaner simply drove around the apartment until the battery runs out. Nowadays such vacuum cleaners are almost never met, and random navigation has been replaced by algorithms. In this article, we'll look at each of these types of navigation and tell you which rooms they're best suited for.
1. Algorithm navigation.
Robotic vacuum cleaners equipped with this type of navigation navigate in space thanks to prewritten algorithms. They receive information about the situation by means of infrared sensors installed in the front bumper, as well as by tactile signals transmitted by the same bumper. The robot can reach an obstacle, see it with sensors or touch the bumper to change its trajectory. Its movements are subject to algorithms, which are a set of actions. For example, in the course of automatic cleaning, the robot may realize with the help of sensors that it moves along the wall. In this case, it triggers the algorithm "cleaning along the wall" and continues to move so that the wall always stays on one side. Another algorithm is the spiral cleaning, the so-called "SPOT cleaning". After realizing that there are no barriers around and the robot is in the middle of an empty room, it will start to move in a spiral, processing about two square meters of area, and then switches to another square or goes to a different algorithm. Who will be suitable for robots with such navigation? As a rule, they are used in apartments up to 60 square meters, because the battery is enough for the robot to cope with the entire apartment. Robots with this type of navigation return to the base using the infrared sensor, which means they do not know and do not remember where their charging station is until they see it. It is recommended to place the charging floor station in the conditional center of the apartment to make it easier to find.
2. Gyroscope
A robot with gyroscope navigation, in principle, does not differ much from algorithmic ones. The main difference is that there is a gyroscope inside the robot, which allows you to clearly control the angles of rotation of the robot. Thus, using the algorithm "snaking", the vacuum cleaner does not allow deviation from the reference route. We recommend paying attention to this type of navigation if your apartment has an area of about 60 square meters and is mostly empty, with open spaces.

3. SLAM mapping.
One of the most popular types of navigation for robot vacuums and robotics in general. There is an article on Wikipedia devoted to this type. Its peculiarity is that when a vacuum cleaner starts cleaning it remembers the starting point and draws a route in its memory. This allows it not to repeat itself and to clean faster, and therefore more efficiently. They also receive information about their surroundings from infrared sensors on the bumper. Vacuum cleaners with this type of navigation can often use a mobile app, where you see the apartment as the robot sees it. Examples of robots with this type of navigation are the discontinued Okami T90 and the new Okami U80 Pet.
4. VSLAM with camera.
Improved and refined the SLAM method. Everything is the same, only more accurate. Robots with this type of navigation are equipped with a camera that remembers the location of objects in the apartment, as well as uses the ceiling to navigate. It produces a more accurate plan of the room, which can usually be viewed in the app. Also, it becomes possible to interact with the map in the app - to build walls and indicate to the robot the exact place in the room where you need to move. An example of a robot with this type of navigation is the new Okami U90 Vision.
5. Laser navigation using lidar
The most advanced and accurate method of navigation for robots. Only robots with a laser rangefinder have it. Typically, this is such a tower mounted on the robot. It has a high-precision laser that is invisible to humans and animals but hits the camera of some cameras. Such robots receive information from lidar about surrounding objects and distances to them. Thanks to this, they almost instantly create a map of the visible part of the apartment and start cleaning. A big plus of this type, in addition to the accuracy of cleaning, is the potential ability to clean any area at all. The robot sees that the cleaning is not completed, goes to recharge, and continues its mission. As a rule, in robots with a laser rangefinder, it is possible to see an exact map of your apartment and interact with it. For example, select areas for cleaning or build virtual fences. An example of such a robot is the flagship Okami U100 Laser.
Choose a robot vacuum cleaner with the optimal navigation system for you and household chores will be much less!