Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Student-Made Robot Car Loopin' Around Campus

Here is a video showing the prototype for IEEE UCSD's Natcar team 2 going around a circular track at SWE Envision.

Check out the photo gallery here.

Learn more about the ViaCar project here...which, if you're keeping track, used to be called NatCar.

more info:

ViaCar is an undergraduate design competition sponsored by ViaSat and hosted by UC San Diego. Teams of undergraduate students design, build, and race an autonomous car which must follow a track marked by white tape on dark-colored carpet. Under the tape, there is a wire carrying a 100mA rms 75kHz sinusoidal signal. The fastest cars travel at average speeds of up to 10ft/s. IEEE UCSD provides funding for several teams to compete.

The goal of the ViaCar project is to build an autonomous 1/10 scale RC car car that can race around track marked by a wire carrying a sinusoidal current. Two potential approaches are optics and magnetics. Since the course is marked by white tape, an optical approach might use a camera and image processing to try to “see” the track and determine the car’s position and orientation relative to the track. The electromagnetic approach relies on Faraday’s law of induction, which states that the induced electromotive force or EMF in any closed circuit is equal to the time rate of change of the magnetic flux through the circuit. If you place a coil near the track, a sinusoidally-varying EMF will be induced in the coil, the magnitude of which will depend on the coil’s orientation and distance from the wire. One can then feed this signal into a controller which will actuate the car's steering mechanism to steer the car back on track.

The competition is held annually in May in the form of a race. The competition website has more details. The team with the lowest total time, including penalities, wins!