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I have a line following bot which uses IR sensors (LSA08, more specifically) to detect the white line on black surface and stay on track. For the project however, there is a trick in the track. At a certain point, the line changes from white to black and the bot is expected to follow the black line on the white surface.

My question is, how would I design the algorithm which will make the bot recognise that the track and conditions have changed.

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  • How many IR sensors do you use for detecting the line?
    – chrisl
    Sep 26, 2019 at 12:49
  • The LSA08 has 8 IR sensors
    – RishiC
    Sep 26, 2019 at 13:08

2 Answers 2

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Assume the "road" line is narrower than the bot's width. Sense light/dark across the road-width by enough more that it can see both edges plus enough to regain the roadway at a sharp bend.

Now pretend we don't know what color the roadway is - which is in fact, true! But we do know that the sensors should see either: [W, W, W, ... W, B, B, ..., B, W, ..., W] (black stripe), or [B, B, B, ... B, W, W, ..., W, B, ..., B] (white stripe).

Call W(hite) a 1 and B(lack) a zero. The above conditions, stored in an unsigned int, might look (in binary) like:

1111110000111111, or 0000001111000000.

One is just an inversion of the other, right? So read your sensors (and I'm going to assume perfect robo-vision for a moment: no noisy signals and we know we're on the roadway), and if necessary, invert the result so it look like my second case, 0000001111000000, a group of ones surrounded by a group of zeros shows we're (somewhat) centered on the track. You no longer need to know what color the roadway is!

We assumed perfect signals - in reality you'll need some smarts to detect and correct an odd 1 in the midst of a bunch (technical term here) of 0s, or vice versa.

We assumed your bot is kind of centered on the track; able to see both roadway edges. In reality, sometimes you may be losing it - 111000000000000, or drifting to the right. If you can't ensure this won't happen, you'll need to be able to recognize it and correct it. And, here is where we need to know something about the roadway color. We knew what color it was recently, just before we started to drift off, so we'll just continue inverting (or not inverting) our stored sensor data - IF the color doesn't change until the bot re-centers itself (nasty track designers)! If your design criteria can include that the bot doesn't lose either edge of the track, you can always recover, even during a color change. Otherwise you'll have to recognize and respond to a color change even when you can only see one edge. Use the recent road-color to keep track of this.

Hope that helps.

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It depends a bit on your precise requirements. Currently you are following the black line (meaning sensing black in the middle and white on the sides). Instead you could follow the border of that line. To do this you would have to control the motors in a way, so that in at the middle of the sensors there is a high contrast (black at the right, white at the left, or vice versa). It will not follow the exact same path as before, but a bit to the side.

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