The RoboMagellan competition was created by the Seattle Robotics Society in part as a low-cost alternative to the DARPA grand challenge. Intrigued by the idea of vehicles that can autonomously navigate outdoor environments, the group devised a competition in which robots navigate between GPS waypoints through a college park type environment. During their run the robots need to detect and avoid obstacles, identify and touch orange traffic cones, traverse challenging off-road terrain, and perform all of these tasks without any human commands or instructions. Aside from pressing a button to initially start the robot, the robot functions completely autonomously making its own decisions about how to proceed based upon sensor feedback. The process is made even more challenging by selecting a competition venue with numerous obstacles, choosing waypoints that require competitors to traverse very difficult terrain, or by the addition of sensor dead-zones such as areas where GPS signals cannot be sustained.
In the fall of 2008, C.I.R.C. began its first ever group robotics project. The goal was to field an entry for the Fall RoboMagellan competition hosted by ChiBots (Chicago Robotics Club). The demanding challenges of this competition required a robot with a capable drivetrain, a vast array of sensors, a robust vision system, and reliable software to serve as the robot’s “brains.” The complexity and multi-disciplinary nature of a RoboMagellan robot can easily overwhelm most robotics hobbyists. By utilizing the individual strengths of different C.I.R.C. members, our group was able to break the project into separate subsystems which could be individually completed by those most familiar. Our final design proved to be one of the most technologically advanced RoboMagellan platforms and will definitely be a strong competitor in future RoboMagellan competitions.
February 21, 2010 at 11:15 am | Projects | No comment
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