Thursday, June 15, 2006

Intellegent Ground Vehicle Competition

Last weekend, I went to Michigan with the rest of the IGVC Team from Case with our robot, Roberto. We had high hopes of bringing it all together after a month's worth of long days (and nights) trying to get all the robot's systems integrated for our first showing at the competition. We made it so far as to qualify our robot for competition, and we also won $500 for implementing their wireless robot control protocol over UDP. Unfortunately, the USB cable connected to our hub dangled into the chassis of the robot and touched the +24V terminal of the lead-acid battery, which toasted our NI DAQ's, serial-to-USB adapters, digital compass, and the hub itself. We stayed up all night rebuilding, got it to the point where we completed the wireless command challenge, but a subsequent electrical failure killed our replacement DAQ and ended our bid to compete.

Going into next year, we have a much better idea of what challenges we must overcome, as well as a lot of the work already being done. As of Sunday morning, all sensor systems were functional and data was being integrated and logged - we were just nailing down final bugs... with a year to rebuild, we will definitely have a strong showing next year.

I worked with Scott McMichael on the vision system for the robot. I was primarially responsible for integrating vision with the rest of the robot, making sure the vision data was being used properly for mapping and planning, and providing as much functionality as possible given our vision data. Also, since Scott couldn't make it to the competition, I was the resident vision "expert" in case anything went wrong (of course things went wrong!). Vision was up and running well for the competition, but we never got to run the full challenge due to the electrical problems we encountered. Hopefully this summer, we will be able to test robot vision more thoroughly.

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