Friday, November 19, 2010

Sparkfun AVC 2011: RC Truck

I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and I've been thinking about the Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Contest too much lately.

I bought an budget-friendly, entry-level 1:10 RC truck.  An ElectrixRC Circuit.

I guess I'm going to go ahead and do this AVC thing. There's a long to do list. Let's see here...
  • Interface Arduino MCU to RC truck (done)
  • Research truck's handling limits* (in progress)
  • Collect acceleration data (in progress)
  • Devise Electronic Stability Control algorithms
  • Setup Android coding environment
  • Ramp up on Android coding
  • Explore using Android phone for navigation
  • Arduino to Android interface (bluetooth?)
  • Devise curb & object detection mechanism -- vision? laser? lidar?
Since Sparkfun hasn't actually announced the 2011 contest yet, I'm not sure how much time I have left but I'll assume it's happening around tax time again.  In fact, there's no guarantee the AVC will happen at all but I'm hopeful based on a comment on their website by an employee:

Although we haven't made any official AVC 2011 announcement (and this isn't one either), everybody around the office is assuming that AVC will continue every year into the indefinite future. It's just too much fun not to do it! Trevor

What I've learned so far about using my phone is that it lacks gyros, kind of a big deal I fear.  It makes the interface with the Arduino a little messier than I'd prefer.

Pic from
The 1-axis gyros I ordered from Sparkfun arrived, so I will most likely let the Arduino handle IMU interfacing, and have the phone manage the high level GPS and compass navigation.

* Yes, of course I'm going to get to play with the truck! Duh!

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