Last minute transfer to an alternate chassis

We decided to repurpose the chassis originally used for our 2010 Cerberus IGVC entry.  The transfer required the following:

  • a new camera mount, 
  • a new digital compass mount (for the Sparton AHRS-8) 
  • a new mounting and power system for the main Dell 4700 computer, 
  • new lighting (e-stop),
  • mounting and power systems for the ROS-Master MiniBox computer system
  • mounting and power systems for the new KVH-5100 IMU
  • new ROS drivers for the QuickSilver-based motor systems
  • recalibration of all the driving parameters and sensor coordinate transforms
  • new router and antennas
  • modified ventilation and cooling for the MiniBox computer
  • vehicle refinishing and labeling for our Sponsors
  • new harness work for all the new wiring.

We were able to use the old vehicle battery power system, motors and controllers, main power box for 12 and 24 volts, and the remote control and E-Stop systems.  

Here is a picture of the robot the day we packed it up to go to the competition.

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In order to complete all of this work, we had to work through the nights for pretty much the entire week preceding the competition.

One overriding consequence of the chassis problems we encountered this year was that we had dramatically reduced opportunities for outdoor on-vehicle testing of the various software systems.  Going into the competition with the retrofitted vehicle we were still having serious problems with multi-computer ROS computer networking, motor driver anomalies, and calibration problems between lidar, camera, DGPS and IMU, which were affecting localization and mapping as well as basic driving.

Nonetheless we had high hopes and we were counting on using any time available at the competition to complete addressing the hardware and sofware integration issues...

©Electrical, Computer, Robotics, and Mechatronic Systems Engineering -- UDMercy