OMRON B5L Time of Flight Sensor Module for Real-Time 3D Vision in Autonomous Mobile Robots
   
 

OMRON B5L Time of Flight Sensor Module for Real-Time 3D Vision in Autonomous Mobile Robots

​​​​​​​Innovative technology continues to improve and advance the possibilities for autonomous mobile       robots (AMR). To view the environment around them, AMRs often require multiple, high-accuracy sensors that can offer stable and reliable detection along with a long life and high durability in a range of environments. Omron's latest sensor introduction, the B5L Time-of-Flight Sensor Module, provides real time 3D vision for obstacle detection, enabling AMRs for many use cases such as: delivery, logistics, and fulfillment, moving, sorting, and picking goods.  
 
 
Using 3D sensors in outdoor or ambient light environments can be difficult, as interfering light wavelengths can impede the sensor's ability to detect the environment. Other challenges for 3D sensors include:
  • Edge noise - leading to false detection
  • Object reflectivity - causing accuracy issues and missed detection
  • Short sensor lifetime - lacking a robust lifetime
Omron's new B5L Series Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor module is designed to solve these technical challenges in detection, accuracy, and sensor lifespan, as well as empower clients to easily integrate the module into their applications. Explore a video of AMR applications in action.
 
 
The B5L Series includes a high-dynamic range (HDR) function to provide high-accuracy readings. This controls the shutter speed to perform the measurement multiple times for both near and far objects. The HDR function can be turned off for high-speed operation, which uses a single measurement to calculate distance.
 
The ToF sensor also has a built-in edge noise reduction (ENR) function that determines edge location and reduces the noise associated with these edges. With this function enabled, the sensor can realize crisp image capture to detect objects at any distance or reflectivity.
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​​​​​​​To ensure stable detection even in direct sunlight, Omron incorporated a lens design that corresponds to    the wavelength of the emitter LEDs and arranged emitters and receivers to minimize the effect of sunlight, among other optical design technology. This created a ToF module with high ambient light immunity—up to 100,000 lx—and high output accuracy of ±2% at 2 m.
 
Users can also control the emitted LED frequency to prevent frequency interferences between units—the B5L ToF sensor allows for the operation of up to 17 units simultaneously. The sensor also has a long life of approximately five years under continuous driving, due to Omron's unique circuit and heat emission design.
 
Omron's B5L 3D sensor allows for simple design integration as well, with selectable outputs in the Cartesian, Cartesian Rotation, or Polar coordinate format. Omron provides a free software development kit (SDK) to evaluate the ToF sensor and recently completed a sample robot operation system 2.0 (ROS2) code to make integration even easier.
 
 

Authored By: Kyle Alberti

Application Development Manager, Omron Electronic Components