EP3409168A1 - Corner cleaning module for modularly constructed cleaning robot - Google Patents

Corner cleaning module for modularly constructed cleaning robot Download PDF

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Publication number
EP3409168A1
EP3409168A1 EP18172808.0A EP18172808A EP3409168A1 EP 3409168 A1 EP3409168 A1 EP 3409168A1 EP 18172808 A EP18172808 A EP 18172808A EP 3409168 A1 EP3409168 A1 EP 3409168A1
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EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
robot
robot unit
suction
cleaning module
unit
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
EP18172808.0A
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP3409168B1 (en
Inventor
Maximilian FREMEREY
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
BSH Hausgeraete GmbH
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BSH Hausgeraete GmbH
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to DE102017208963.6A priority Critical patent/DE102017208963A1/en
Application filed by BSH Hausgeraete GmbH filed Critical BSH Hausgeraete GmbH
Publication of EP3409168A1 publication Critical patent/EP3409168A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP3409168B1 publication Critical patent/EP3409168B1/en
Application status is Active legal-status Critical
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/02Nozzles
    • A47L9/04Nozzles with driven brushes or agitators
    • A47L9/0461Dust-loosening tools, e.g. agitators, brushes
    • A47L9/0488Combinations or arrangements of several tools, e.g. edge cleaning tools
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2201/00Robotic cleaning machines, i.e. with automatic control of the travelling movement or the cleaning operation

Abstract

A corner cleaning module (3) is described, which has a suction mouth (6) for sucking off a suction area and a blower unit which is designed to generate a suction air flow, wherein the flow path for the suction air flow to the suction mouth (6). The corner cleaning module (3) has a mechanical interface with which a releasable mechanical connection can be formed between the corner cleaning module (3) and a robot unit (2). The suction mouth (6) is arranged on the corner cleaning module (3) so that when the corner cleaning module (3) is coupled to the robot unit (2) the suction mouth (6) projects so far beyond an outer contour of the robot unit (2) that through the suction mouth ( 6), a suction area outside the outer contour of the robot unit (2) is sucked. The suction region of the suction mouth (6) is located outside the outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2). When the corner cleaning module (3) is coupled to the robot unit (2), the corner cleaning module (3) projects laterally beyond the outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2) in the forward direction (7) of the robot unit (2) and the suction mouth (6) is seen arranged in the forward direction of travel (7) of the robot unit (2) seen laterally from the robot unit (2).

Description

    Field of the invention
  • The invention relates to a corner cleaning module and a modular cleaning robot with a robot unit and a corner cleaning module.
  • Background of the invention
  • The German patent application DE 10 2007 036 163 A1 describes a method and a device for determining a driving pattern of a floor care device, in particular a dust collection robot. For determining the driving pattern in the space or the demarcated area, in which optionally obstacles are included, the size of the space or the demarcated area is determined qualitatively or quantitatively. For driving the floor care device or dust collection robot in rooms or demarcated areas of different sizes, differently defined driving patterns are executed in each case.
  • The German patent application DE 10 2005 046 813 A1 describes a method for operating a self-traveling household appliance such as a ground dust collecting device in a room or in a plurality of rooms. It is proposed that, if appropriate, in addition to a base station, station elements are arranged which emit signals which are indicative of the respective location of the station element, and that the household appliance is orientated by processing these signals in the room. In this way it is achieved that a self-sufficient ground dust collecting device can be reliably operated in one room or in a plurality of rooms.
  • In the US patent application US 2002/0 092 125 A1 a hand vacuum cleaner is described having an upright portion and a base with a nozzle and also an edge cleaner. The edge cleaner includes a body and brushes. The edge cleaner is rotatably mounted on the base of the vacuum cleaner and preferably includes a vacuum port. The edge cleaner has an operating position in which the edge cleaner rests on the floor, and a stowage position in which the brushes are raised from the ground and the vacuum port is separated from the vacuum suction.
  • The European patent application EP 2 783 617 A1 describes a self-propelled vacuum cleaner comprising a mobile unit and a suction device. The mobile unit has a housing and a control module. The suction device is detachably attached to the mobile unit and has a suction module and a filter module.
  • In the US patent application US 5,709,007 A a remote controlled vacuum cleaner is described which comprises a movable unit and a vacuum cleaner unit. There is provided means for releasably attaching the vacuum cleaner unit to the movable unit. A remote control unit is provided to control the movable unit and the vacuum cleaner unit so that the movable unit moves on the floor while the vacuum cleaner unit cleans the dirt and dust from the floor by suction.
  • The US patent application US 2005/0 209 736 A1 describes a self-propelled work robot comprising a drive assembly with a wheel and first and second work assemblies detachable from the drive assembly. One of the first and second work arrangements is selectively attached to the drive assembly. The second working arrangement can be, for example, a suction and cleaning arrangement that can be attached to the driving arrangement. The drive assembly includes a drive motor that drives the wheel, a wheel controller that controls the rotation of the drive motor, a discriminator that detects which of the work assemblies is mounted, and a work signal output device that, in response to a result of a discrimination, commands a work signal to operate the work assembly outputs.
  • The German patent application DE 101 39 213 A1 describes a dust cleaning attachment for a vacuum cleaner with a suction line. On the Saugreinigungsvorsatz a baseboard brush is mounted on a peripheral edge with respect to the direction of travel, which is also connected to the suction line. In order to improve a Sauggerätevorsatz of the type in question, in particular with regard to the suction power, the suction line connection of the skirting brush between an open and a closed position is variable.
  • The Japanese patent application JP 2013-23305 A describes a self-propelled vacuum cleaner capable of cleaning a baseboard or wall surface. The self-propelled vacuum cleaner comprises drive wheels, a body moving on a surface to be cleaned by means of the drive wheels, and a baseboard brush unit provided on one side of the body for cleaning the upper surface of a baseboard.
  • The US patent application US 2007/0113373 A1 describes a vacuum cleaner provided with a left cover and a right cover, which cover a suction port body so as to be movable in the right and left directions to facilitate cleaning by expanding the suction port body when the side of a wall, a Corner of a room and the like to be cleaned. As the vacuum cleaner approaches a wall, etc., the right-hand cover moves so as to protrude outward from a bumper. A part of the suction port body expands to the side, and an expansion space covered by the right cover is formed on the right side of the suction port body. Dust and dirt on a floor surface facing this room are sucked in through a main suction opening. In addition, side suction openings made of a flexible material are communicatively formed in both end portions on the right and left of a suction suction chamber of the suction port body, so that dust and dirt are also drawn through the side suction opening when the side of the wall is cleaned.
  • The US patent application US 2011/0 153 081 A1 describes a robot cleaner comprising a cleaning unit for cleaning a surface and a main robot body. The main robot body includes a drive system for generating movement of the robot cleaner and a microcontroller for controlling movement of the robot Robot cleaner. The cleaning unit is arranged in front of the drive system and the width of the cleaning unit is greater than the width of the main robot body. A robot cleaning system includes a main robot body and a plurality of cleaning units for cleaning a surface. The main robot body includes a drive system to generate movement of the robot cleaner and a microcontroller to control movement of the robot cleaner. The cleaning assembly is disposed in front of the drive system, each of the cleaning assemblies is removable from the main robot body, and each of the cleaning assemblies has a unique cleaning function.
  • The problem underlying the invention
  • It is an object of the invention to provide a cleaning robot, which is particularly suitable for the cleaning of hard to reach places such as corners and edges.
  • Inventive solution
  • The reference numbers in all claims have no limiting effect, but are only intended to improve their readability.
  • The solution of the object is achieved by providing a corner cleaning module, which has a suction mouth for sucking a suction region and a blower unit, which is designed to generate a suction air flow, wherein the flow path for the suction air flow extends to the suction mouth. The corner cleaning module has a mechanical interface with which a releasable mechanical connection can be formed between the corner cleaning module and a robot unit. The suction mouth is arranged on the corner cleaning module so that, when the corner cleaning module is coupled to the robot unit, the suction mouth projects so far beyond an outer contour of the robot unit that a suction region outside the outer contour of the robot unit can be sucked out through the suction mouth. In this case, the suction area of the suction mouth is outside the outer contour of the robot unit. When coupling the corner cleaning module with the robot unit that projects Corner cleaning module in the forward direction of the robot unit seen laterally beyond the outer contour of the robot unit and the suction mouth is seen in the forward direction of the robot unit seen from the side of the robot unit.
  • The corner cleaning module is specially designed to extract hard-to-reach corners and edges of a surface or area to be cleaned. For this purpose, the corner cleaning module comprises a suction mouth and a blower unit, which generates a suction air stream for sucking dirt and dust. In this case, the corner cleaning module is designed to be connected via a mechanical interface with a robot unit. The robot unit is designed, for example, as a mobile robot unit with which the cleaning module can be moved relative to the surface to be cleaned.
  • In the corner cleaning module according to the invention, it is provided that the suction mouth is attached to the corner cleaning module so that it is outside the outer contour of the robot unit when the corner cleaning module is coupled to the robot unit. Due to this upstream or exposed position of the suction mouth, it is possible for the suction mouth to be advanced by the robot unit into the respectively to be sucked off corners and edge regions into which the robot unit itself could not penetrate because of its size. The upstream positioning of the suction mouth outside the outer contour of the robot unit therefore allows the cleaning of hard to reach places that can not approach the robot unit itself.
  • A cleaning robot according to the invention has a modular structure and comprises a robot unit and a corner cleaning module. The corner cleaning module has a suction mouth for sucking off a suction region and a blower unit which is designed to generate a suction air flow, wherein the flow path for the suction air flow extends to the suction mouth. The corner cleaning module has a mechanical interface via which the corner cleaning module is connected to the robot unit in a releasable mechanical connection. The suction mouth is arranged on the corner cleaning module so that the suction mouth so far protrudes beyond the outer contour of the robot unit, that through the suction mouth, a suction area outside the outer contour of the robot unit is sucked. In this case, the suction area of the suction mouth is outside the outer contour of the robot unit. Seen in the forward direction of travel of the robot unit, the corner cleaning module projects laterally beyond the outer contour of the robot unit, wherein the suction mouth is arranged laterally of the robot unit in the forward direction of travel of the robot unit.
  • According to the concept of the modular cleaning robot, different cleaning modules can be placed on a robot unit. For example, it is possible to use, in addition to the corner cleaning module, another module for the areal extraction of surfaces or a module for wet wiping surfaces. It is not necessary to provide each of the cleaning modules separately with a chassis, a drive and a controller. The use of a modular cleaning robot is particularly advantageous in the corner cleaning, because this cleaning step must be performed in addition to the actual surface cleaning. In this respect, it is economical to provide a separate corner cleaning module in addition to the surface cleaning module and to apply this corner cleaning module to the existing robot unit for performing the corner cleaning. The robot unit with the chassis and the controller can thus be used in common for all cleaning modules, the cleaning module required in each case is placed on the robot unit and mechanically releasably secured via the mechanical interface.
  • In the case of the cleaning robot according to the invention, it is provided that the suction mouth is mounted on the corner cleaning module such that it is outside the outer contour of the robot unit when the corner cleaning module is coupled to the robot unit. In this case, the upstream positioning of the suction mouth outside the outer contour of the robot unit allows the cleaning of hard to reach places that the robot unit itself can not approach. In particular for modular cleaning robots, the concept of a cleaning agent arranged outside the outer contour is unconventional because the outer contour of the cleaning robot is generally used for detecting collisions. It therefore represents a qualitatively new approach to arrange cleaning agents outside the outer contour secured against collisions.
  • In general, a cleaning robot is a cleaning device capable of moving automatically relative to a surface to be cleaned or an object to be cleaned, and to completely or partially clean the surface or object. For this purpose, the cleaning robot is equipped with one or more cleaning devices. For example, the cleaning robot may be equipped with fixed or driven brushes, rollers, wipers, cloths or other cleaning equipment. Alternatively or additionally, the cleaning robot can comprise a vacuum cleaner, for example a wet vacuum or a dry vacuum cleaner or a combined wet / dry vacuum cleaner.
  • A cleaning robot is usually equipped with a chassis. The landing gear can be controlled, for example, by a controller which may be present in the cleaning robot or outside the cleaning robot. For example, to control the landing gear, the controller draws data provided by one or more sensors which, at least in part, may be present in the cleaning robot or outside the cleaning robot. Typical sensors include a mechanical collision sensor, a camera, an ultrasonic sensor, an infrared sensor, a distance sensor, an acceleration sensor, and a compass. A cleaning robot may include or may be operatively connected to one or more mapping means. Mapping means comprise, in particular, devices for receiving, storing or evaluating geometrical properties of the room in which the cleaning robot is to work or work. The mapping means can advantageously contribute to a planned navigation of the cleaning robot in the room. Rooms can be outside or inside, z. B. interiors of buildings such as living spaces or household spaces, be.
  • A cleaning robot is usually accumulator-operated. So that the accumulator of such a cleaning robot can be reloaded after a cleaning phase, a charging station separate from the cleaning robot can be provided. The cleaning robot can be designed so that it automatically starts the charging station for charging the battery and / or automatically connects to the charging station.
  • A cleaning robot may, for example, comprise a vacuum cleaner, wherein the vacuum cleaner may be configured as a wet vacuum cleaner, as a dry vacuum cleaner or as a combined wet / dry vacuum cleaner. For example, the cleaning robot may comprise a wet vacuum and be adapted to apply liquid to a surface to be cleaned or an object to be cleaned and to suck the liquid by means of the wet vacuum again. In addition to the vacuum cleaner, the cleaning robot may include other cleaning devices such as brushes, rollers, wipers, cloths or other cleaning devices. Preferably, the cleaning action of the vacuum cleaner is supported by these additional cleaning devices.
  • A vacuum cleaner in the sense of the present invention is a device which can generate a suction air flow which acts on an object, usually a surface, for example a floor surface, to remove particles, for example dirt or dust particles, but also, for example, liquids from the object by being caught by the suction air flow and entrained (hereinafter also referred to as "suction"). Advantageously, a vacuum cleaner can achieve such a cleaning effect.
  • The vacuum cleaner is usually equipped with a suction fan for generating a suction air flow, wherein a suction port of the vacuum cleaner is in flow communication with the suction side of the suction fan. The suction port is typically designed so that it over the object to be cleaned, for. B. a floor surface, can be performed to the particles, for. As dust or dirt to suck. The suction fan is usually in fluid communication with at least one dust separator, such as a generally interchangeable dust filter bag, a filter device or a centrifugal separator. Dirt particles taken up by the suction air stream are generally collected in a dust collecting chamber, with the dust filter usually being present in the dust collection chamber in the case of a vacuum cleaner with a dust filter bag.
  • Cleaning robots that are equipped with a vacuum cleaner, collect dirt and dust usually in a arranged in the cleaning robot dust collector. The space available on the cleaning robot is usually limited, so that also provided for the dust collector space is limited. In this respect, it is advantageous to provide a dust collection station to which dust and dirt from the dust collection container of the cleaning robot can be delivered from time to time. The cleaning robot can be designed so that it automatically starts to pick up the dust, the dust collection station and / or automatically connects to the dust collection station. In this case, the dust collecting station can be designed as a dust collecting station connected to a charging station or as a dust collecting station separate from a charging station.
  • Preferred embodiments of the invention
  • Advantageous embodiments and developments, which can be used individually or in combination with each other, are the subject of the dependent claims and the description below.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module is adapted to clean corners and edges of a surface to be cleaned or a space to be cleaned. When surface cleaning, for example, a flat sucking a surface or a room, corner and edge areas are often not detected correctly by the suction nozzle of a cleaning robot, because the suction nozzle can not penetrate into the corners and edges. The corner cleaning module is specially designed for cleaning these hard to reach places. For this purpose, for example, the suction mouth of the corner cleaning module can be shaped and dimensioned so that a cleaning of corner and edge areas is made possible. The corner cleaning module can be placed on a mobile robot unit and can run in a corner and edge cleaning step specifically the corner and edge areas and clean.
  • Preferably, the robot unit is adapted to automatically move relative to a surface to be cleaned or in a space to be cleaned. For example, the robot unit is able to automatically navigate in space and create routes for the cleaning run, which are then converted into corresponding control commands for driving the robot unit. This allows automatic cleaning of surfaces or rooms.
  • Preferably, the robot unit comprises a chassis with drive unit and a control unit. By the control unit, for example, control commands can be generated, which are passed to the drive unit and control the movement of the robot unit.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module is mounted in a predefined position on the robot unit. In this way, a defined relative position results between the robot unit and the corner cleaning module. As a result of this predetermined arrangement of the corner cleaning module on the robot unit, the robot unit can navigate the corner cleaning module exactly to desired positions.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module via the mechanical interface is shiftable and rotatable connected to the robot unit. This achieves a stable mechanical fixation of the corner cleaning module on the robot unit. This allows in particular a precise motion control for attached to the corner cleaning module suction mouth.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module via the mechanical interface can be positively connected to the robot unit. Further preferably, the corner cleaning module can be locked by means of at least one locking element with the robot unit. Via the mechanical interface, a detachable mechanical connection is made between the respectively used cleaning module and the robot unit. This releasable mechanical connection can additionally be locked by at least one locking element. In this case, it is necessary to release the lock before the respective cleaning module, in particular the corner cleaning module can be removed from the robot unit.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module is designed as an independent vacuum cleaner. The blower unit and the flow path for the suction air flow are arranged on the corner cleaning module itself. Therefore, it is not necessary to guide the suction air flow from the corner cleaning module to the robot unit. No interface for the suction air flow is required between the robot unit and the corner cleaning module.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module has a data interface adapted to facilitate exchange of at least one of data and control commands between the corner cleaning module and the robot unit. For example, control commands from a control unit arranged in the robot unit can be transmitted to components of the corner cleaning module via the data interface. In the reverse direction, sensor signals from sensors arranged on the side of the corner cleaning module can be transmitted via the data interface to the robot unit. In this way, the sensor signals detected by the respective cleaning module can be taken into account in determining the travel paths.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module has an energy interface, via which the corner cleaning module can be supplied with energy from the robot unit. As a rule, an accumulator is provided in the robot unit, which supplies power to the robot unit. Via the energy interface, the required power can be made available to the corner cleaning module by the robot unit. In this case, it is not necessary to provide a separate accumulator on the side of the corner cleaning module.
  • The suction area of the suction mouth is located outside the outer contour of the robot unit. The corner cleaning module with the suction mouth attached thereto is designed such that it extends beyond the outer contour of the robot unit, so that the suction mouth comprises a suction region outside the outer contour of the suction robot. Through this placement of the suction area outside the outer contour can be achieved that the suction mouth can penetrate into corner and edge areas, which are not accessible to the generally larger sized robot unit.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module comprises a base unit and a lateral support element, on which the suction mouth is arranged at a distance from the base unit. It can be achieved by the carrier element that the suction mouth is mounted sufficiently far outside on the corner cleaning module, so that a suction region outside the outer contour of the robot unit can be detected by the suction mouth.
  • Preferably, the suction mouth is arranged in the vicinity of one of the front corners of the robot unit. The corner cleaning module protrudes laterally beyond the outer contour of the robot unit when viewed in the forward direction of the robot unit. The suction mouth is arranged in the forward direction of travel of the robot unit seen laterally from the robot unit. Preferably, the suction mouth is seen in the forward direction of the robot unit outside the outer contour of the robot unit and arranged laterally of the robot unit. Preferably, the suction mouth is completely outside the outer contour of the robot unit. The robot unit is widened by the corner cleaning module and the suction mouth, for example, in the direction laterally to the forward travel direction, so as to be able to perform corner and edge cleaning in the lateral edge area of the robot unit. If the robot unit is moving in a forward direction along a wall or along objects, the corner and edge areas can be sucked out through the suction mouth. Preferably, the suction mouth in the forward direction of travel of the robot unit, as viewed on the front end side of the robot unit, terminates substantially flush with the robot unit.
  • Preferably, the shape and dimensions of the suction mouth are designed to clean corners and edges of a surface to be cleaned or a space to be cleaned. In order to clean these hard to reach places, it is necessary, for example, to suitably dimension the suction opening of the suction mouth. As a rule, the suction opening for the corner and edge cleaning will be made smaller than would be the case with a suction opening intended for surface cleaning. Preferably, the area of the suction opening of the suction mouth is significantly smaller than the area of the robot unit formed in the case of perpendicular projection onto the ground plane. Preferably, the suction opening of the suction mouth has an area of at least one fortieth of the surface of the robot unit when projected vertically on the ground plane, more preferably at least one thirtieth of the surface of the robot unit, more preferably at least one twenty-fifth of the surface of the robot unit. Preferably, the suction opening of the suction mouth has an area of at most one fifth of the area of the robot unit when projecting on the ground level, more preferably an area of at most one tenth of the area of the robot unit, further preferably an area of at most one fifteenth of the area of the robot unit. In addition, the geometric shape of the suction surface For example, designed so that dust and dirt in the corners and edges are sucked as completely as possible.
  • Preferably, the shape and dimensions of the suction mouth are designed to be able to penetrate as far as possible in a corner or edge to be cleaned. Preferably, a suction port of the suction mouth has one of the following shapes: circular, oval, triangular, quadrangular, square, rectangular, polygonal. Preferably, the suction mouth widens from top to bottom in the direction of the surface to be cleaned. Such an example, conical expansion of the suction mouth from top to bottom makes it possible to fully absorb the dust to the edge.
  • Preferably, the suction mouth consists wholly or partly of an elastomer. Elastomers are characterized by the fact that they deform when force is applied, but that they return to their original shape after the loss of force. By forming the suction mouth of a deformable elastomer material can be achieved that objects such as delicate furniture or vases are not damaged by the suction mouth of the corner cleaning module. Preferably, the suction mouth is wholly or partly made of rubber or silicone.
  • Preferably, additional cleaning agents are attached to the suction mouth or in the suction mouth. Preferably, at least one rotatable brush is provided at the suction mouth or in the suction mouth. By a rotationally driven brush whose axis may be oriented, for example, horizontally, obliquely or perpendicular to the surface to be cleaned, the dirt is conveyed from a larger catchment area to the suction mouth. This allows better detection of dust and dirt. The combination of brushes and a suction flow can also be used to loosen and remove any adhering dirt.
  • Preferably bristles or other at least partially sealing elements are attached to the suction mouth. By the bristles, an at least partial sealing of the suction mouth is effected with respect to the surface to be sucked, so that the suction effect is improved.
  • Preferably, the suction mouth is equipped with at least one sensor. Preferably, the at least one sensor comprises at least one of the following: a distance-sensitive element, an electrical distance sensor, an optical distance sensor, a collision sensor. By means of the at least one sensor, the distance to the wall or to another object can be determined. The sensor signals can be supplied, for example, via the data interface of the central control unit on the part of the robot unit and taken into account in the determination of the travel path, so that a collision with the wall or with other objects can be avoided in this way. The at least one sensor may also include a collision sensor that outputs a signal when in mechanical contact with the wall or with another object, which in turn is transmitted to the robot unit and taken into account in the control of the drive there. Although the suction mouth is arranged outside the outer contour of the robot unit, such strategies can either completely avoid collisions with the wall or with other objects, or they can be immediately recognized and taken into account in the movement guidance. Preferably, the suction mouth is provided with a bumper which is adapted to dampen collisions with other objects.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module comprises a Staubabscheideeinrichtung for cleaning the suction air flow, which is arranged in the flow path of the suction air flow. The Staubabscheideeinrichtung may for example comprise a dust collecting space. The suction air stream is cleaned on the side of the corner cleaning module, so that a purified exhaust air is discharged to the environment.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module comprises at least one filter device for cleaning the suction air flow, which is arranged in the flow path of the suction air flow. The at least one filter arrangement further cleans the air in the suction air stream. In particular, for example, a fine dust filter may be provided in the flow path.
  • Preferably, the flow path of the suction air flow extends from the suction mouth via a Staubabscheideeinrichtung and the blower unit to at least one outlet opening. In this respect, the complete flow path from the suction mouth to the at least one outlet opening is arranged on the corner cleaning module. This makes it possible to use the components with regard to corner and edge cleaning interpreted, for example, adjust the performance of the fan to this purpose.
  • The corner cleaning module preferably has a control unit and a data interface to the robot unit, wherein the control unit is designed to exchange at least one of data and control commands with the robot unit via the data interface. For example, at least one sensor may be arranged on the side of the corner cleaning module whose sensor signals are transmitted via the control unit and the data interface to the control unit arranged on the side of the robot unit. In the reverse direction, control commands for the components of the corner cleaning module can be transmitted from the robot unit via the data interface to the corner cleaning module.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module has a control unit, wherein the control unit is designed to control at least one component of the corner cleaning module in response to the control unit received control signals. For example, the fan can be switched on by the robot unit at the beginning of the cleaning run and switched off again after completion. In addition, the performance of the fan can be controlled, for example, by the robot unit.
  • Preferably, the robot unit has a control unit which is designed to control the robot unit with the corner cleaning module in such a way that the robot unit moves according to a wall following method on an outer boundary of a surface or a space to be cleaned. The movement pattern of the robot unit used for the corner and edge cleaning is usually different from the movement pattern used for the area-sucking of a room. While vacuuming a room is about covering the space as completely as possible with the driveways, the edge and corner areas of the room or the area are targeted at corner and edge cleaning. It is advantageous if, for this purpose, a wall-following method is used in which the robot unit moves along the outer boundary of a surface or a space which is formed, for example, by walls and by other objects.
  • The control unit is preferably designed to transmit information for identifying the corner cleaning module to the robot unit via the data interface. The robot unit can thus recognize that a corner cleaning module is mounted. Depending on the respectively placed cleaning module, the robot unit can select a suitable movement pattern, in the case of a corner cleaning module, for example, a movement pattern along the outer boundary of the surface to be cleaned or the space to be cleaned.
  • Brief description of the drawings
  • Further advantageous embodiments will be described in more detail below with reference to several embodiments illustrated in the drawings, to which the invention is not limited.
  • It shows schematically:
    • FIG. 1 shows a modular cleaning robot comprising a robot unit and a corner cleaning module mounted thereon.
    • FIG. 2 shows a plan view of the robot unit and the corner cleaning module.
    • Figures 3a-3d show four different geometric configurations of a suction mouth.
    • FIG. 4 shows a schematic representation of the components of the corner cleaning module.
    • FIG. 5 shows a possible method for determining a path for corner and edge cleaning.
    Detailed description of embodiments of the invention
  • In the following description of preferred embodiments of the present invention, like reference characters designate like or similar components.
  • The cleaning of corners by cleaning robots is a challenging process when cleaning surfaces and rooms, especially when they are corners with an angle of less than or equal to 90 °. But also on edges, which are often located between different rooms or on specially shaped furniture, current corner cleaning strategies and solutions reach their limits.
  • In FIG. 1 a modular cleaning robot 1 is shown, which comprises a mobile robot unit 2 and attached to the robot unit 2 corner cleaning module 3. The robot unit 2 is designed as a mobile base unit of the cleaning robot 1 and comprises a drive device for moving the cleaning robot 1 over a surface to be cleaned and a control unit for controlling the drive device, which is designed to navigate the robot unit 2 independently on the surface to be cleaned. For detecting the environment of the cleaning robot 1, for example, one or more sensors may be provided, for example optical sensors or collision detectors. In addition, additional mapping means may be stored in the control unit, which provide geometric data of the surfaces and spaces to be cleaned and may serve as a basis for determining suitable routes. In addition, the robot unit 2 comprises an energy store, in particular an accumulator, which supplies the entire cleaning robot 1 with energy.
  • The concept of the modular cleaning robot is based on the consideration to provide cleaning modules specially designed for different cleaning tasks, which are optimized for carrying out the respective cleaning task. From these different cleaning modules can then be selected for the respective cleaning task cleaning module and placed on a robot unit. For example, one could imagine separate cleaning modules for the wet wiping of floors, for the flat suction of surfaces to be cleaned and as suggested here for the corner cleaning. The selected cleaning module is placed on the robot unit and preferably mechanically coupled to the robot unit. For this purpose, a mechanical interface may be provided on the robot unit, which allows a releasable mechanical coupling with the respective cleaning module used. For example, the mechanical interface may be designed to connect the respective cleaning module to the robot unit in a manner that prevents displacement and rotation. Further preferably, the mechanical interface may include one or more locking elements with which a cleaning module placed on the robot unit can be fixed in its position relative to the robot unit in order to achieve mechanical stability of the cleaning robot in this way. Before replacing the respective cleaning module, it is necessary to release the lock. The respective cleaning module can then be removed from the robot unit.
  • In addition to the mechanical interface, further interfaces can be provided between the robot unit and a cleaning module. For example, it can be provided that the cleaning module is supplied with energy from the robot unit. In this case, an energy interface is provided between the robot unit and the cleaning module, by means of which the cleaning module is supplied with power by the accumulator provided in the robot unit. In addition, a data interface between the robot unit and the respective cleaning module can be provided. The central control unit which generates the control commands for the navigation of the cleaning robot is arranged on the robot unit side. Via the data interface between the robot unit and the cleaning module, an exchange of data and commands between the control unit arranged on the robot unit and the cleaning module is made possible. For example, commands for the components provided on the side of the cleaning module can be generated on the part of the control unit, for example commands for switching on and off or commands for power control. In the reverse direction, sensor signals recorded by sensors on the side of the cleaning module can be transmitted to the control unit via the data interface. For example, on the part of the cleaning module, an additional collision sensor may be arranged, which detects collisions with the wall and forwards them to the control unit.
  • In addition, between the robot unit and the cleaning module, a material interface can be provided, via which, for example, an exchange of gas or liquid between the cleaning module and the robot unit is possible. For example, cleaning water for wet wiping could be made available in the cleaning module by a tank provided in the robot unit. In the event that the cleaning module comprises a vacuum cleaner device, an interface for the suction air flow between the cleaning module and the robot unit could be provided.
  • In FIG. 1 is attached to the mobile robot unit 2, a corner cleaning module 3. The corner cleaning module 3 is designed to suck the corners and edges of a space to be cleaned or a surface to be cleaned. In particular, by means of the corner cleaning module 3, for example, edges between different rooms or on specially shaped pieces of equipment can be cleaned. This in FIG. 1 shown corner cleaning module 3 is L-shaped in plan view and comprises a base unit 4 with a on the right side of the base unit 4 in the direction of travel forward extending side arm 5. Preferably, the corner cleaning module 3 is designed as an independent vacuum cleaner. At the corner cleaning module 3, a suction mouth 6 is attached with a suction channel for sucking dirt and dust. The suction mouth 6 is designed in particular for the cleaning of the corners and edges of rooms to be cleaned and surfaces to be cleaned. For this purpose, the suction mouth 6 is shaped and dimensioned so that it can penetrate into the corners and edge areas to be cleaned. In particular, for this purpose, the suction opening, with which the suction mouth 6 sucks dust and dirt from the ground, designed so that the suction mouth 6 can reach the corner and edge areas. For this purpose, the suction opening of the suction mouth 6 is usually smaller in size than would be the case with a suction mouth used for the area suction of a room. Correspondingly, the associated intake area at the bottom of the space to be cleaned is generally smaller than the intake area at a suction mouth designed for area suction.
  • Preferably, the corner cleaning module 3 is designed as an independent vacuum cleaner and comprises an arranged inside the base unit 4 motor-blower unit for generating a suction air flow. In the flow path of the generated suction air In addition, for example, a Staubabscheideeinrichtung and one or more filter devices may be arranged.
  • The corner cleaning module 3 is designed to be mounted on the robot unit 2 in a specific position by means of the mechanical interface. The suction mouth 6 is attached to the corner cleaning module 3 so as to be located at a position outside the outer contour of the robot unit 2 when the corner cleaning module 3 is attached to the robot unit 2. When the corner cleaning module 3 is attached and fixed to the intended position on the robot unit 2, the corner cleaning module 3 with the suction mouth 6 attached thereto extends outwardly so as to protrude beyond the outer contour of the robot unit 2. In the assembled state of the cleaning robot 1, that is, after placing the corner cleaning module 3 on the robot unit 2, the corner cleaning module 3 with the suction mouth 6 protrudes beyond the base surface of the robot unit 2. In contrast to conventional suction robots, the suction mouth 6 thus sucks off a suction region which is located outside the outer contour of the robot unit 2. With respect to the corner cleaning module 3, the position of the suction mouth 6 relative to the mechanical interface or the mechanical connection means with which the corner cleaning module 3 is fixed to the robot unit 2 is selected so that the suction mouth 6 in the assembled state of the cleaning robot 1 is sufficient is far outside to be positioned outside the outer contour of the robot unit 2. With regard to the corner cleaning module 3, the distance between the mechanical interface and the position of the suction mouth 6 must therefore be selected to be sufficiently large in order to achieve the desired positioning of the suction mouth 6 outside the outer contour in the assembled state of the cleaning robot 1.
  • These geometrical relationships are in FIG. 2 which shows the corner cleaning module 3 and the robot unit 2 in plan view, wherein the corner cleaning module 3 is fixed by means of a mechanical interface in a predetermined position relative to the robot unit 2. It can be seen that the corner cleaning module 3 extends so far outward to the forward travel direction 7 that the suction mouth 6 drawn in dashed lines lies outside the outer contour 8 of the robot unit 2. The suction mouth 6 with suction channel is preferably at one of the front corners outside the outer contour 8 of the robot unit 2. This ensures that the suction mouth 6 can penetrate deeply into corners to be cleaned. Preferably, the suction mouth 6 is attached laterally to the robot unit 2. In this case, the position of the suction mouth 6 can be selected such that viewed in the forward direction of travel 7, the end face of the suction mouth 6 is located in a common plane 9 with the end face of the robot unit 2. In this case, the suction mouth 6 is flush with the end face of the robot unit 2.
  • For the mobile robot unit 2, various strategies for detecting or avoiding collisions with the wall and with other objects are known. For example, the robot unit 2 includes electrical or optical distance sensors or is equipped with bumpers. However, since these strategies relate to the outer contour 8 of the robot unit 2 and the suction mouth 6 of the corner cleaning module 3 protrudes beyond this outer contour 8, the protective mechanisms for the robot unit 2 are not designed to prevent the suction mouth 6 from colliding with the wall or objects and furnishings. In this respect, additional mechanisms for detecting and avoiding collisions with the suction mouth 6 are required here.
  • According to a first possibility, the suction mouth could be equipped with independent sensors for distance determination or for detection of collisions, for example with optical or electronic distance sensors or with mechanical sensors for collision detection. The signals of these sensors could either be supplied to a located on the corner cleaning module control unit for further evaluation or transmitted via the data interface to the robot unit and be evaluated by the local control unit, which is also responsible for the control of the infrastructure. By considering these additional sensor signals in the determination of the travel path, collisions of the suction mouth with the walls and other objects can be avoided.
  • A second strategy is to provide the suction mouth with bumpers or to make the suction mouth itself from an elastically deformable material that deforms upon collision with a wall or object. For example, the suction mouth could be wholly or partly made of an elastomer, for example Rubber, silicone or other suitable elastomer that is sufficiently soft to avoid collision damage.
  • In the FIGS. 3a to 3d Various possible geometries for the suction mouth of the corner cleaning module are shown. The suction mouth, for example, as in the FIGS. 3a and 3b have shown a polygonal cross-sectional area, wherein in FIG. 3a a suction mouth 10 with rectangular cross section and in FIG. 3b a suction mouth 11 is shown with a triangular cross section, but other polygonal cross sections are possible. The edges of the suction mouth can be formed either as tapered edges or as rounded edges. Alternatively, the use of a suction mouth with round, oval or even elliptical cross-sectional area is possible. In Figure 3c a suction mouth 12 is shown with a circular cross-section and 3d figure shows a suction mouth 13 with an oval cross-section. Alternatively to the in Figure 3a to 3d By way of example shown geometries, it is also possible to form the suction mouth so that it expands in the direction from top to bottom, so that the cross-section is directly above the ground largest. By way of example, the suction mouth can be designed as a suction mouth that tapers conically from top to bottom toward the bottom.
  • At or partially around the suction mouth, at least partially sealing members such as e.g. Bristles be arranged. This additional sealing improves the suction effect. In addition, the bristles can act like brooms and so remove the dust from the corners. Within the suction mouth, for example, rotating brushes may be arranged, whose axis is arranged vertically, horizontally or obliquely to the ground. By means of such rotating brushes, the dust in the corner can be detected, led to the center of the suction mouth and then sucked.
  • In FIG. 4 the various components of the corner cleaning module 3 are shown schematically. The corner cleaning module 3 comprises the suction mouth 6 with the suction channel, is sucked in the dirt and dust laden air. The suction mouth 6 forms the air inlet for the flow path in the corner cleaning module. From the suction mouth 6 from the sucked air passes to a dust collection container 14, are deposited in the dust and dirt from the suction air stream. The pre-cleaned air is supplied via a filter 15 of a blower unit 16 which is adapted to the To generate suction air flow in corner cleaning module 3. From the exhaust side of the blower unit 16, the air passes to a blow-out area 17, which forms the air outlet for the purified air. To control the components of the corner cleaning module, a control unit 18 is provided in the corner cleaning module 3, which is in data connection via a data interface 19 with the control unit of the robot unit 2. For example, the control unit 18 can receive sensor signals from sensors attached to the suction mouth 6 or from the dust collecting container 14 and forward them to the control unit of the robot unit 2. In addition, the blower unit 16 may be controlled by the control unit 18, wherein the control commands for the blower unit 16 may be generated either by the control unit 18 itself or by the control unit of the robot unit 2.
  • For the navigation of the robot unit on the surface to be cleaned and for the generation of suitable control commands for the chassis, the control unit on the part of the robot unit is responsible. The control unit can be designed, for example, to determine suitable routes for the movement of the robot unit. For example, sensor signals from sensors mounted on the robot unit can serve as a starting point for the determination of the travel paths. In addition, on the part of the control unit, for example, mapping means may be provided or stored which provide information about the geometry of the area to be cleaned or the space to be cleaned. This information can be used by the control unit as a starting point for determining the routes. However, other routes are required for the corner and edge cleaning than for a surface cleaning of the area to be cleaned or the surface to be cleaned. While in the surface cleaning, the respective surface is traversed as completely as possible by the robot unit according to at least one movement pattern, it is necessary for the corner and edge cleaning that the robot unit the outer boundary of the room or the area, for example, be given by walls and other objects can depart at a certain distance to the limit. This method, which is decisive for corner and edge cleaning, in which the outer boundary of the room or the surface is traversed, is also called a wall following method.
  • Thus, when the corner cleaning module 3 is placed on the robot unit 2, the robot unit 2 should change the movement pattern to a cornering and edge cleaning suitable movement pattern in which the robot unit 2 moves off the outer boundary. This adaptation of the movement pattern can take place by means of a suitable data exchange between the control unit 18 on the side of the corner cleaning module and the control unit provided on the robot unit 2. For example, the control unit 18 of the control unit may indicate that the attached module is a corner cleaning module 3. The control unit will then determine a suitable for corner and edge cleaning track and control the drive unit so that this route is traveled.
  • The following is based on FIG. 5 describe a method with which a suitable pathway for the corner and edge cleaning can be determined based on the information available for a surface cleaning. On the part of the control unit mapping means are present, that is, in particular devices for receiving, storing and evaluating geometric properties of the space to be cleaned or the surface to be cleaned. The geometry information stored in the mapping means comprises the dimensions of the respective space or area. In addition, this geometric information may also include information on positions and dimensions of freestanding obstacles such as furniture and other furnishings. At the in FIG. 5 In addition to the dimensions of the space 20, the positions and dimensions of a cabinet 21, a chest of drawers 22 and a door 23 are also shown. In addition, the mapping means may include, for example, information about the progress of the transitions from one room to the next. This information is already being used to determine suitable driveways for surface cleaning. In addition, from this geometry information but also an outermost circulation 24 along walls and obstacles can be determined. This outermost circulation 24 is in FIG. 5 drawn as a dashed line and is suitable as a guideway for corner and edge cleaning. This outermost circulation 24 could be derived directly from the geometry data. Alternatively, however, it is possible to determine the respective outermost positions of the possible pathways for the surface cleaning on the basis of the possible routes already determined for the surface cleaning in space and thus from the possible routes of Surface cleaning to extract the outermost circulation 24, as in FIG. 5 indicated by dashed lines. In determining this outermost circulation 24 known freestanding obstacles are taken into account. Likewise, transitions from one room to the next are taken into account. From the totality of the possible routes within a room to be cleaned or a surface to be cleaned, as they must be determined anyway for the surface cleaning, therefore, the path for corner and edge cleaning can be derived. The advantage is that the information already determined for the surface cleaning can be used as a basis for determining the travel path in the corner and edge cleaning.
  • The features disclosed in the foregoing description, the claims and the drawings may be of importance both individually and in any combination for the realization of the invention in its various forms.
  • LIST OF REFERENCE NUMBERS
  • 1
    cleaning robot
    2
    robot unit
    3
    Corner cleaning module
    4
    basic unit
    5
    sidearm
    6
    saugmund
    7
    Advancing direction
    8th
    outer contour
    9
    level
    10
    Suction mouth with rectangular cross-sectional area
    11
    Suction orifice with triangular cross-sectional area
    12
    Suction mouth with round cross-sectional area
    13
    Suction mouth with oval cross-sectional area
    14
    dust collection
    15
    filter
    16
    blower unit
    17
    blow out
    18
    control unit
    19
    Data Interface
    20
    room
    21
    cabinet
    22
    commode
    23
    door
    24
    extreme circulation

Claims (10)

  1. A corner cleaning module (3), comprising:
    a suction mouth (6) for sucking off a suction area,
    a blower unit (16) adapted to generate a suction air flow, wherein the flow path for the suction air flow to the suction mouth (6) extends, and
    a mechanical interface with which a releasable mechanical connection can be formed between the corner cleaning module (3) and a robot unit (2),
    wherein the suction mouth (6) at the corner cleaning module (3) is arranged so that when coupling the corner cleaning module (3) with the robot unit (2) of the suction mouth (6) so far protrudes beyond an outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2) that a suction region outside the outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2) can be aspirated through the suction mouth (6), the suction region of the suction mouth (6) being located outside the outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2),
    characterized in that
    when coupling the corner cleaning module (3) with the robot unit (2) the corner cleaning module (3) in the forward direction (7) of the robot unit (2) seen laterally over the outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2) protrudes and the suction mouth (6) in the forward direction (7) of the robot unit (2) seen laterally from the robot unit (2) is arranged.
  2. A modular cleaning robot (1), which has
    a robot unit (2),
    a corner cleaning module (3), which
    a suction mouth (6) for sucking off a suction area,
    a blower unit (16) adapted to generate a suction air flow, wherein the flow path for the suction air flow to the suction mouth (6) extends, and
    a mechanical interface, via which the corner cleaning module (3) is connected to the robot unit (2) in a detachable mechanical connection,
    wherein the suction mouth (6) at the corner cleaning module (3) is arranged so that the suction mouth (6) so far beyond the outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2) that through the suction mouth (6), a suction outside the outer contour (8 ) of the robot unit (2) can be aspirated, the suction area of the suction mouth (6) being located outside the outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2),
    characterized in that
    the corner cleaning module (3) projects in the forward direction of travel (7) of the robot unit (2) laterally beyond the outer contour (8) of the robot unit (2),
    wherein the suction mouth (6) in the forward direction (7) of the robot unit (2) seen from the side of the robot unit (2) is arranged.
  3. Cleaning robot (1) according to claim 2, characterized in that the corner cleaning module (3) is mounted in a predefined position on the robot unit (2).
  4. Cleaning robot (1) according to claim 2 or claim 3, characterized in that the corner cleaning module (3) is designed as an independent vacuum cleaner device.
  5. Cleaning robot (1) according to one of claims 2 to 4, characterized in that the corner cleaning module (3) has a data interface (19) which is adapted to exchange at least one of data and control commands between the corner cleaning module (3) and the Robot unit (2) to allow.
  6. Cleaning robot (1) according to one of claims 2 to 5, characterized in that the corner cleaning module (3) has an energy interface, via which the corner cleaning module (3) from the robot unit (2) can be supplied with energy.
  7. Cleaning robot (1) according to one of claims 2 to 6, characterized in that the shape and dimensions of the suction mouth (6) are adapted to clean corners and edges of a surface to be cleaned or a space to be cleaned.
  8. Cleaning robot (1) according to one of claims 2 to 7, characterized in that the suction mouth (6) consists wholly or partly of an elastomer.
  9. Cleaning robot (1) according to one of claims 2 to 8, characterized in that the flow path of the suction air flow from the suction mouth (6) via a Staubabscheideeinrichtung (14) and the blower unit (16) extends to at least one outlet opening.
  10. Cleaning robot (1) according to one of claims 2 to 9, characterized in that the robot unit (2) has a control unit which is adapted to control the robot unit (2) with the corner cleaning module (3) so that the robot unit ( 2) is moved along an outer boundary of a surface or space to be cleaned according to a wall-following method.
EP18172808.0A 2017-05-29 2018-05-17 Corner cleaning module for modularly constructed cleaning robot Active EP3409168B1 (en)

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US5709007A (en) 1996-06-10 1998-01-20 Chiang; Wayne Remote control vacuum cleaner
US20020092125A1 (en) 2001-01-12 2002-07-18 Royal Appliance Mfg. Co. Edge cleaner for vacuum cleaner
DE10139213A1 (en) 2001-08-09 2003-02-27 Vorwerk Co Interholding Vacuum cleaner suction head has vertical side brushes to clean skirting boards
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