Initial Platform Specification

OUR FIRST PLATFORM

This year, we planned to concentrate our design work on the development of new algorithms for localization, image processing, mapping, and navigation.  To facilitate this focus we decided to purchase a base chasis from Clearpath Robotics to save us the development work associated with designing and fabricating a new vehicle.  Thus we began with the Husky base platform -- a 4-wheel drive skid-steer platform that had been developed by Clearpath to serve as an introductory IGVC platform.

clearpath-husky-a200

During the later part of the fall semester we worked with Clearpath to configure a physical platform that would meet our IGVC performance goals.  

We specified some initial design elements:

  • waterproof laptop enclosure
  • rigid mast structure for camera and differential gps (DGPS) sensors
  • front inverted-lidar mount
  • enhanced power system with onboard charger and 120v connection
  • modified drivetrain to achieve 2.2 meters/second max speed
  • lower friction wheel modifications for easier turning


ROS, The Robotic Operating System 

At the same time we specified the basic platform we decided to adopt the ROS meta-OS to serve as the core for our software efforts

ROS (Robot Operating System) provides libraries and tools to help software developers create robot applications. It provides hardware abstraction, device drivers, libraries, visualizers, message-passing, package management, and more. ROS is licensed under an open source, BSD license.

In the past we had used the Player/Stage system but wanted a more mainstream solution that had a growing user and support system and would work in a peer-to-peer distributed fashion.

This proved to be a momentus decision that would have far reaching effects for our 2013 efforts… (more to come)

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