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Title:
GREEN AUTOMATED ROBOTIC PERSONAL CAR WASH
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/007846
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
In traditional carwash scenarios there is a considerable amount of energy and resources wasted in the process. There is also damage to the environment due to chemical cleaning solutions, and carbon emission from the idle cars waiting in line for carwash. On the other hand, the practice of washing cars is a hassle for car owners. While many car owners wash their cars regularly and some cities even enforce it by penalizing dirty cars, the overall cleanness of most cars at any given time is hardly satisfactory. The time wasted on the whole process of washing a car either at home or a carwash facility adds to the problems as well. This invention is a relatively small robot for cleaning the exterior of vehicles. This robot uses the idle time of a vehicle, and cleans it in a fully automatic fashion. The hours of cleaning can be programmed to happen anytime, e.g. throughout the night when most vehicles are idle, or on-demand by the command of the vehicle owner.

Inventors:
MONTASERI, Poorya (Unit15, No.19 North Razan, Mirdamad, Tehran, IR)
Application Number:
IB2016/053997
Publication Date:
January 11, 2018
Filing Date:
July 04, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MONTASERI, Poorya (Unit15, No.19 North Razan, Mirdamad, Tehran, IR)
International Classes:
B60S3/04; B08B1/00; B60S3/00; G05D1/00
Foreign References:
US9114440B12015-08-25
DE102014112123A12016-02-25
US20100106298A12010-04-29
EP3015179A12016-05-04
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NASIRI AZAM, Bijan (Unit 13- No 4-, Mir jahangiri Alley-Between Malek and Bahar Shiraz St-,Shariyati S, Tehran 38338, 1565838338, IR)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Green Automated Robotic Personal Car Wash

Claims

1. Green personal car wash robot with smartphone app interface -for controlling, programing, and notification- has three main units:

a. Base Unit 1

b. Robotic Arm 2:

i. Cleaning Head Unit

c. Docking Station

2. There is a clean water container 4 and a waste water container installed on the back of the Base Unit.

3. According to claim 2, environmentally cleaning solution can be used in clean water container.

4. There is a water pump 5 installed in the Base Unit to pump clean water to the Cleaning Head unit and a second pump to pump back waste to the waste water container.

5. A powerful Li-ion battery 3 installed in the bottom of the Base Unit powers the robot as well as acting as stabilizing weight. The battery is recharged when the robot is docked or via photovoltaic cells installed on the exterior of the robot.

6. Robot docks at the Docking Station where it recycles waste water and charges its batteries.

7. The robot moves around with the propulsion unit attached to the bottom of the Base Unit.

Propulsion is done by two DC motors each connected to a continuous track.

8. The main computer 6 (microcontroller) is in charge of all sensory and operating actions of the robot. A smartphone app connected to the main computer as the main interface for programming the robot as well as receiving notifications and reports.

9. The Robotic Arm 2 is comprised of three pieces moving in various directions using three servomotors 9, 10, 11, installed on each elbow and the arm base

10. Two servomotors 12 are installed in the wrist of the arm for additional movements of the brush head unit.

11. The robot moves around with the propulsion unit 14 attached to the bottom of the main body.

12. Propulsion is done by two DC motors each connected to a continuous track 15 on each side of the unit.

13. A number of distance sensors 16 are installed around the robot on the main body, robotic arm, and cleaning head unit.

14. The center-piece also contains servomotor 19 to rotate itself.

15. The brush head is covered by a microfiber cloth 20.

16. The brush head has foldable wings 21.

17. The brush head unit has dedicated distance sensors 22 placed on the foldable wings 21.

18. There is RGB color sensor 23 on the brush head.

19. There is temperature and a humidity sensor 24 on the brush head.

20. There is a secondary brush head unit 26 on bottom of the main body.

21. After the robot finishes a cleaning job, it drives back to the dock and attaches itself for charging via Power Supply 29 by connecting to Charger Dongle 30 and charging water recycling by connecting Water Dongle 31.

22. Cleaning, brush speed, solution injection 34 and suction are all done automatically by the onboard computer 35.

23. Where applicable solar power can be used to power the robot.

24. An air pump 8 specifically in charge of blowing air to through the air ducts of the brush head 25.

Description:
Green Automated Robotic Personal Car Wash

Description

Technical Field of Invention:

The technical category of this invention is car washing and car cleaning systems and tools. Background of the Invention

In traditional carwash scenarios there is a considerable amount of energy and resources wasted in the process. There is also damage to the environment due to chemical cleaning solutions, and carbon emission from the idle cars waiting in line for carwash.

On the other hand, the practice of washing cars is a hassle for car owners. While many car owners wash their cars regularly and some cities even enforce it by penalizing dirty cars, the overall cleanness of most cars at any given time is hardly satisfactory.

The time wasted on the whole process of washing a car either at home or a carwash facility adds to the problems as well.

Prior Art

Current inventions in this category are focused on automating public carwash facilities. The tool invented for personal applications, on the other hand, are not fully automated and need human involvement in the washing process. Such tools only speed up the washing process and the main work is done by the person washing the car.

Disclosure of the Invention

This invention is a relatively small robot for cleaning the exterior of vehicles. This robot uses the idle time of a vehicle, and cleans it in a fully automatic fashion. The hours of cleaning can be programmed to happen anytime, e.g. throughout the night when most vehicles are idle, or on-demand by the command of the vehicle owner.

The owners can program, monitor, and receive reports from the carwash robot via a smartphone app.

To ensure the cleaning process is done fully automatically and with no need for human involvement, various parts and systems are provisioned for this robot.

The robot features a main body and a robotic arm: • The main body houses power supply, water (or cleaning solution) tank, waste water tank, main computer, water pump, air pump, and necessary cables and pipes. Under the main body there is a propulsion unit in charge of movements of the robot around the car and from and back to docking station.

• The robotic arm holds the cleaning head unit attached to a conveyor belt for the cleaning head movements. The arm has 3 smaller pieces and folds in 2 places (elbows). There is one small motor attached to each elbow that are in charge of extending and retracting the whole arm to cover all surfaces of the vehicle.

The Brief Description of the Figures

Fii *ure 1 : General View

Fii *ure 2: Main Body

Fii *ure 3: Robotic Arm

Fii *ure 4: Propulsion Unit

Fii *ure 5: Sensors

Fii *ure 6: Brush Head Unit

Fii *ure 7: Docking Hub

Fii *ure 8: Semiautomatic Option

The Detailed Description of the Figures

As seen in figure 2 there is a powerful Li-ion battery 3 (or a stack of batteries) installed in the bottom of the main body 1 to power the entire unit as well as act as stabilizing weight. These battery is recharged when the robot is docked or via photovoltaic cells installed on the exterior of the robot (when applicable).

There are two liquid containers 4 installed next to each other and attached to the back of the robot. One the containers holds clean water (or environmentally cleaning solution). The other container collects waste water (or cleaning solution residue).

A water pump 5 is in charge of pumping clean water to the cleaning head unit and a second pump sucks the waste liquid back to the waste water container. The main computer 6 of the robot is in charge of all sensory and operating actions of the robot. It is comprised of a microcontroller (e.g. Genuino Uno) board with a Bluetooth add-on add on installed for wireless communication between the robot and the smartphone 7 app. This computer is placed close to the top of the main body properly insulated from the rest of the unit, adequately ventilated, and positioned in a way to have strong Bluetooth signal.

The smartphone app is the main interface for programming the robot as well as receiving notifications and reports. The app comes in two editions for iOS and Android devices and connects to the robot via Bluetooth.

The sole purpose of the robotic arm 2 is to move the brush head unit (Figure 5) with precision on various surfaces of the vehicle and ensure optimal distance while covering the entire surface of the vehicle without missing a spot.

There is one servomotor 9 installed where the robotic arm 2 connects to the base 1. This servo moves the first part of the arm up and down as well as rotating the base around the Y axis through a shaft connected to the base. Being in charge of two sets of movements this servomotor is stronger and can move either the arm or rotate the base at any given moment.

Two smaller servomotors 10 - 11 each installed on an elbow allow the arm to perform versatile maneuvers.

Finally, two additional (small) servomotors 12 are installed in the wrist of the arm for additional movements of the brush head unit around X and Y axis.

All Cables and pipes go from the base unit to arm through the robotic arm connection 13.

The robot moves around with the propulsion unit 14 attached to the bottom of the main body. Propulsion is done by two DC motors each connected to a continuous track 15 on each side of the unit for maximum grip and maneuverability.

A number of distance sensors 16 (infrared or ultrasound) are installed around the robot on the main body, robotic arm, and cleaning head unit. These sensors send feedback to the main computer to calculate robot's position compared to surrounding objects. This mechanism ensures smooth and effective movements, avoids accidents, and enables failsafe mechanism.

A gyroscope sensor connected to the computer will ensure the robot maintains upright position and moves around safely. In the event of fall, failsafe mechanism will kick in.

The liquid container tanks are each equipped with level sensors to warn the user when cleaning solution is depleted or the waster container is full. In each case the robot will not start a cleaning job and will remain docked until the issue is resolved. A red indicator light will turn on the docking hub and a message will be send to the smartphone app. These sensors will also help robot to self-check before starting a work and estimate if it would run out of cleaning solution or the waster container may overflow, in which case it will not start the job in the first place and will warn the user of the issue. The cleaning head unit (brush) is a multifunctional unit and has a number of parts.

At the core of the brush there is a cylindrical center-piece 17 that acts as the base of the unit and holds everything together. It connects the brush head unit to the robotic arm 2, meaning pipes and wires 18 go through this piece.

The center-piece also contains a small servomotor 19 to rotate itself. While cleaning the brush head makes 45 -degree circular rotations to improve rubbing and cleaning.

To pipes connected to spraying and suction nozzles handle inflow of cleaning solution and outflow of waste water. The brush head is covered by a microfiber cloth 20 to enhance cleaning surface coverage, rubbing, and dirt absorption. The cloth is easily washable and replaceable.

The brush head has four foldable wings 21 that make the brush head simulate the movements of a human hand to better cover odd corners, uneven surfaces, and mirrors during cleaning.

This unit has dedicated distance sensors 22 placed on the foldable wings 21 and the center -piece to manage distance of the moving parts from the various surfaces of the vehicle. There is also a RGB color sensor 23 that helps determine the level of dirt on a vehicle, so the robot spends more time cleaning a dirtier area. Moreover, a temperature and a humidity sensor 24 determine the drying intensity and time.

An air pump 8 specifically in charge of blowing air to through the air ducts of the brush head 25 speeds up the drying process once an are on the vehicle is washed.

There is a secondary brush head unit 26 provisioned specifically for cleaning the wheels as they tend to collect more dirt in terms of volume and intensity. This unit is less complicated than the main brush head unit as it does not have foldable wings and only makes rotational and circular movements to cover the exterior of the wheels and tyres.

In the idle mode (default mode) the robot is docked at the docking station. The base of the docking station contains a power supply, which is connected to grid power in order to charge the robot while docked.

On top of the base there is a water treatment unit 27, which takes the waste water from the robot and recycles it back to a clean water container. Water from the clean water container 28 will be injected back into the clean water container of the robot for the next job. The recycling unit will have sensors that determine when water and filters needs replacements and notify the user via indicating lights and a buzzer. In case the robot does not have enough clean water, it will notify the user via the app and lights on the body of the robot.

After the robot finishes a cleaning job, it drives back to the dock and attaches itself for charging via Power Supply 29 by connecting to Charger Dongle 30 and charging water recycling by connecting Water Dongle 31. The robot connects to the dock via 3 dock hinges positioned in front side of the robot attached to the propulsion unit, water tank, and the waste water tank.

In places where sunlight is available, a part of the energy needed by the robot is supplied by solar power via photovoltaic cells installed on the robot and/ or the docking station.

In the docking position, the robotic arm 32 retracts fully to ensure the robot occupied minimum space in resting mode. Semiautomatic Model

For lighter applications and to provide a more economic option for users, this robot comes in a semiautomatic option as well.

The semiautomatic option is comprised of fully functional brush-head 33 unit connected through a hose to a smaller non-autonomous body unit. A human operator is needed to move the unit around the vehicle and apply the brush-head to its surface.

Cleaning, brush speed, solution injection 34 and suction are all done automatically by the onboard computer 35.

An add-on is introduced in this model, which is a solution injector system. It controls and injects required cleaning solution into the water before it is sent to the brush-head unit. The programming is done by the onboard computer and controlled by the smartphone app 36. Concentrated solution mixtures come in capsules that are easy to insert and replace.