Edge detection is to the ability of a robotic vision system to locate boundaries.It also refers to a robot’s knowledge of what to do with respect to those boundaries.

A robot car, for example, uses edge detection to see the edges of a road, and uses the data to keep itself on the road.However, it also needs to stay a certain distance from the right-hand edge of the pavement, so that it does not cross over into the lane of oncoming traffic. It must stay off the road shoulder. Thus, it must tell the difference between pavement and other surfaces, such as gravel, grass, sand, and snow. The robot car can use beacons for this purpose, but this requires the installation of the guidance system beforehand, limiting the robot car to roads that are equipped with such navigation aids.

A personal robot equipped with edge detection can see certain contours in its work environment. This keeps the machine from running into walls, or closed doors, or windows, or from falling down stairwells.

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