Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31824
Using Ultrasonic and Infrared Sensors for Distance Measurement

Authors: Tarek Mohammad


The amplitude response of infrared (IR) sensors depends on the reflectance properties of the target. Therefore, in order to use IR sensor for measuring distances accurately, prior knowledge of the surface must be known. This paper describes the Phong Illumination Model for determining the properties of a surface and subsequently calculating the distance to the surface. The angular position of the IR sensor is computed as normal to the surface for simplifying the calculation. Ultrasonic (US) sensor can provide the initial information on distance to obtain the parameters for this method. In addition, the experimental results obtained by using LabView are discussed. More care should be taken when placing the objects from the sensors during acquiring data since the small change in angle could show very different distance than the actual one. Since stereo camera vision systems do not perform well under some environmental conditions such as plain wall, glass surfaces, or poor lighting conditions, the IR and US sensors can be used additionally to improve the overall vision systems of mobile robots.

Keywords: Distance Measurement, Infrared sensor, Surface properties, Ultrasonic sensor.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 14697


[1] P.M Novotny, N.J. Ferrier, "Using infrared sensor and the Phong illumination model to measure distances," International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Detroit, MI, vol. 2, April 1999, pp. 1644- 1649.
[2] G. Benet, F. Blanes, J.E. Simo, P. Perez, "Using infrared sensors for distance measurement in mobile robots," Journal of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, vol. 10, 2002, pp. 255-266.
[3] A. Sabatini, V. Genovose, E. Guglielmelli, A. Mantuano, G. Ratti, and P. Dario, "A low-cost, composite sensor array combining ultrasonic and infrared proximity sensors," International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, vol. 3, August 1995, pp. 120-126.
[4] V. Colla, A.M. Sabatini, "A composite proximity sensor for target location and color estimation," IMEKO Sixth International Symposium on Measurement and Control in Robotics, Brussels, 1996, pp. 134-139.
[5] L. Korba, S. Elgazzar, T. Welch, "Active infrared sensors for mobile robots," IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measuremen, vol. 2(43), 1994, pp. 283-287.
[6] A.M. Sabatini, V. Genovese, E. Guglielmelli, "A low-cost, composite sensor array combining ultrasonic and infrared proximity sensors, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Pittsburgh, PA, vol. 3, 1995, pp. 120-126.
[7] H.R. Everett, Sensors for Mobile Robots, AK Peters, Ltd., Wellesley, MA, 1995.
[8] A.M. Flynn, "Combining sonar and infrared sensors for mobile robot navigation," The International Journal of Robotics Research, vol. 7(6), 1988, pp. 5-14.
[9] G. Benet, J. Albaladejo, A. Rodas, P.J. Gil, "An intelligent ultrasonic sensor for ranging in an industrial distributed control system," IFAC Symposium on Intelligent Components and Instruments for Control Applications, Malaga, Spain, May 1992, pp. 299-303.
[10] B. T. Phong., "Illumination for computer generated pictures," Communications of the ACM, vol. 18(6), June 1975, pp. 311-317.