IROS 2019 is behind us, but Clearpath Robotics made news on November 4, 2019 with the announcement of a new indoor autonomous mobile robot called Dingo. Dingo is an affordable robotic platform which is lightweight and easily configurable. The target market for Dingo is university research labs.
“Dingo offers the reliability and flexibility our customers expect from a Clearpath robot, at an approachable price point.” says Julian Ware, General Manager at Clearpath Robotics. “We have seen a gap in the market for a system with these capabilities and believe Dingo is a cost-effective, ROS-ready indoor platform suitable for benchtop and laboratory testing. The lower cost also makes the use of multi-robot systems more accessible than with other robots.”
Differential or Omnidirectional
The platform is available in two different drive configurations from the factory:
- Dingo D - Differential Drive
- Dingo O - Omnidirectional
Providing these two options in drive configuration makes this base a option for researchers who need the capability for omnidirectional motion. There aren't many omnidirectional choices currently on the market, while differentially driven drives seem to be the standard.
Here are the basic dimensions of the robot:
ROS is Standard
Clearpath Robotics has been a supporter of ROS since it's inception. This investment continues with the Dingo platform, as ROS is installed from the factory. The system also ships with a Gazebo simulation environment. Researchers will be able to quickly modify the operating system as needed from the ROS open source libraries.
There are several options for computing power onboard the robot, configurable from the factory. So you'll need to determine how much onboard processing will need be done when you order your robot. Dingo includes wheel encoders, programmable front-facing LED lights and a payload mounting system, as well as tool-less access to user power and communication ports for integrating sensors, manipulators, and other third-party hardware.
Designed to be a Mobile Manipulator Base
Mobile Manipulation is a hot area for research at the moment. Clearpath clearly did their market research in designing the Dingo mobile robot. The platform can carry up to 20 kg, making it possible to install a lightweight manipulator on top of the robot deck. With a broad flat base, and a low center of gravity, the Dingo should provide a solid, stable platform as a mobile manipulator.