Distance Sensor Library

Table of content

To enable the distance sensor of the robot, you need to uncomment the following line in the features.h first.


Implementations are available for two distance sensors.

  1. GP2Y0A21YK0F Analog Distance Sensor
  2. VL53LX0 ToF Sensor

GP2Y0A21YK0F support is now discontinued, but you can still use it by defining the correct PIN to use for analog operation from the sensor.

// File: ./src/def_pins.h
#define PIN_DIST_SENSOR 32

VL53LX0 ToF Sensor uses an I2C channel with I2C address 0x2A for its operations. So no need for additional configurations for it.

To select one of the above-mentioned distance sensors, you need to uncomment the relevant line of the below code in features.h

// #define DISTANCE_GP2Y0A21YK0F
// #define DISTANCE_VL53LX0

Setup the Sensor

After defined the distance sensor options, you can import the header file of the distance sensor and initiate a distance sensor object. It is recommended that not to update any of the below.

#include "src/SW_Distance.h"
SW_Distance distance;

Available Functions

The following are available for both GP2Y0A21YK0F and VL53LX0 distance sensors.


void SW_Distance::begin()
void SW_Distance::setFilterRate(float rate)
uint16_t SW_Distance::getRawDistance( bool avoidBurstRead )
float SW_Distance::getDistanceFloat(bool avoidBurstRead )
uint16_t SW_Distance::getDistanceInt(bool avoidBurstRead )
void SW_Distance::test()


You need to call the following function to setup the distance sensor in method setup().


If you are using the GP2Y0A21YK0F sensor, it will print a message like ‘» Dist.Sensor :enabled, GP2Y0A21YK0F’ or, if you are using the VL53LX0 sensor, it will print a message like ‘» Dist.Sensor :enabled, VL53LX0’ in the Serial Monitor.

getRawDistance( bool avoidBurstRead );

If there no obstacle found within the range DISTANCE_MAX_THRESHOLD (defined in src/SW_Distance.h) the function will return DISTANCE_MAX_THRESHOLD.

If the range reading of the sensor is equal or less than DISTANCE_MIN_THRESHOLD (defined in src/SW_Distance.h) the function will return DISTANCE_MAX_THRESHOLD (this is an observation based result, if no obstacle within the max range of the sensor, it will return a small value, less than this DISTANCE_MIN_THRESHOLD).

Otherwise, this will return the raw distance reading as a 16-bit integer; the distance in mm. (after correcting the reading with DISTANCE_OFFSET)

If the boolean flag avoidBurstRead is set to true, it will add a DISTANCE_BURST_DELAY amount of milliseconds before reading. (defined in src/SW_Distance.h, the default is 20). This will help in taking continuous readings from the sensor. The default value is true.

uint16_t d = distance.getRawDistance(); // with a delay
uint16_t d = distance.getRawDistance(false); // without a delay

getDistanceFloat( bool avoidBurstRead );

Return the raw distance reading in millimeters as a floating point number.

float d = distance.getDistanceFloat(bool avoidBurstRead);

getDistanceInt( bool avoidBurstRead );

Return the distance reading in millimeters as a 16-bit integer. TODO: need to implement a mathematical filter inside this function for VL53LX0 sensor

uint16_t d = distance.getDistanceInt(bool avoidBurstRead);


Used as a test pattern. Prints the raw distance sensor into Serial Monitor.



setFilterRate(float alpha);

Can configure the alpha value of the exponential filter. Currently only used for GP2Y0A21YK0F distance sensor.

distance.setFilterRate( float alpha )

Filter function:

average = (alpha * reading)  + ((1 - alpha) * average);

Apart from the Filter Rate, it is possible to configure the following parameters in the SW_Distance.h

// If the distance reading is greater than this, distance function returns -1

// Burst reading delay

// The correction value for the difference between sensor and robot's center.
// Positive means the sensor is in front of the center of the robot by that given value.

Additional Readings