This paper presents a modeling approach to feature classification and environment mapping for indoor mobile robotics via a rotary ultrasonic array and fuzzy modeling. To compensate for the distance error detected by the ultrasonic sensor, a novel feature extraction approach termed “minimum distance of point” (MDP) is proposed to determine the accurate distance and location of target objects. A fuzzy model is established to recognize and classify the features of objects such as flat surfaces, corner, and cylinder. An environmental map is constructed for automated robot navigation based on this fuzzy classification, combined with a cluster algorithm and least-squares fitting. Firstly, the platform of the rotary ultrasonic array is established by using four low-cost ultrasonic sensors and a motor. Fundamental measurements, such as the distance of objects at different rotary angles and with different object materials, are carried out. Secondly, the MDP feature extraction algorithm is proposed to extract precise object locations. Compared with the conventional range of constant distance (RCD) method, the MDP method can compensate for errors in feature location and feature matching. With the data clustering algorithm, a range of ultrasonic distances is attained and used as the input dataset. The fuzzy classification model—including rules regarding data fuzzification, reasoning, and defuzzification—is established to effectively recognize and classify the object feature types. Finally, accurate environment mapping of a service robot, based on MDP and fuzzy modeling of the measurements from the ultrasonic array, is demonstrated. Experimentally, our present approach can realize environment mapping for mobile robotics with the advantages of acceptable accuracy and low cost.
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