10.4.05

Camera and GUI all hooked up

In software news we finally have been able to integrate the obstacle recognition and the navigation software. The initial testing of the obstacle recognition software looks promising, but we are currently having a problem with driving in general. It seems that one motor is propelling the vehicle forward at an unequal amount compared to the other motor, this has resulted in much stress for the design team as right now the car just seems to always make a gigantic right turn from the start. With less than a month left to go before the project is due we hope to fix this problem before the week is out or else we may be in deep trouble.

23.3.05

Software slowly, but surely coming together

Some more updates on the software side of things, as I haven't written in awhile though I seem to be the one who writes the most on this thing. Yesterday and today I sat down for a couple of hours and worked on getting everything into RCS (Revision Control System), and some other software tasks that we have needed to get done. If a segmentation fault occurs in a real-time program it can bring the entire computer crashing to a halt so some additional protection was needed to keep that from ever happening. I added a large amount of code to the project to put the needed redundancies on pointers in place, but that shouldn't affect the program too much.

It really did not take too long, but as soon as I was done with that I finished up the joystick and Compass software. The joystick software is still a bit touchy, and its turning curve will need to be improved... until then though. Compass software was pretty simple since it was using the same interface standard as our GPS. Just a couple of name changes, etc.. and it was good to go.

The thing I am most happy about, is that I have finally got a basic GUI working. Right now it only supports the action buttons; the option buttons; and the camera image (more status windows soon to come). I would put a picture of it on here, but since our CPU does not have network drivers (Dan ignored them) I cannot. Perhaps soon... let me reassure you though it's pretty sweet.

Bis sp├Ąter dann

19.3.05

Sounds Good

I can't wait to get back and start working on the car again. One of my goals for the 3 days i'm back is to mount the wireless e-stop somewhere on the car so that it is still effective with the body put on. That is one goal and the other is to cut and bend the side pieces for the car body. I am pretty sure that this will take 3 days of working when the shop is open. That is how I will spend my days and then I will help do as much testing as I need to after the metal shop closes each day.

15.3.05

Made a minor adjustment

OK, so last night Nate had this little problem: The car pulled a wicked tight turn and the wireless e-stop circuit came loose from its battery. Which is not good, seeing as how the wireless e-stop can't wirelessly e-stop to car without power. So I soldered the power and ground leads for the e-stop circuit to terminal rings, and tightened those onto the battery's leads, so the e-stop won't lose power again unless one of the wires breaks (that is to say, until one of the wires breaks). On a similar note, right now the only e-stop button that is actually on the car is made up of the two 1-mm-square buttons on the motor controller, both of which have to be pressed at the same time to stop the motors. Thus, the top that Matt made can't be affixed to the car until there is at least one real emergency stop button on the car, because otherwise the only way to reach the manual e-stop would be to hold up the front of the car while unscrewing the top, and then pressing the two miniscule buttons on the controller. Hopefully I'll have a proper e-stop button in a few days, but we'll have to see. Everybody enjoy the rest of spring break!

14.3.05

Its a bird, its a plane, no its super monitor

Ok so i got the joystick working tonight. Why a joystick? Well when its not being its fun ol' autonomous self I want to drive it around a bit. Anyway I learned a couple of valueable lessons that I must put to use before I fully integrate the joystick.

1. No one in there right mind every needs a logorithmic turning accleration curve.
2. Forgetting to actually make the joystick controlled emergency stop brake the car before it exits the program can make life stink.
3. Getting hit by fast moving objects hurts.
4. I probably could have won an olympic medal for computer(well, monitor) throwing tonight, I think I put the thing like (paul don't read this) 10 feet through the air. It was only the fact that its cord got caught around the vehicles frame that prevented it from going any further.
5. Paul's monitor can survive anything, I swear its true.
6. Sometimes secondary E-stops don't work.
7. The third E-stop should be something more than two tiny buttons on the front of the vehicle.
8. Autonomous vehicles are entertaining and fun....


Well thats it for now, but I'm sure I will have somethign for tommorrow.

11.3.05

RTlinux finally installed

This week after what seems to be one of the longest struggle of the design team RTlinux was finalled installed as our operating platform. It has really been an uphill battle for the design team, but with it finally working we have something to celebrate tonight.

Matt has started building the frame of the car so that it may look more attractive, Dan's obstacle recognition software has been somewhat integrated, and the old program has been turned into an RTlinux module.

In other news the design team has begun to learn a bit of Gtk, in order to build a simple GUI for the project.

3.3.05

Dead Reckoning is hard

So after a lot of hard time spent in debugging we finally narrowed the dead reckoning navigation problem down to one of the formulas used to determine distance travel. With that fixed we have been able to let the vehicle drive itself around the engineering building for a bit. This is definately a step in the right direction. Hopefully after we correct a small heading problem it should be able to run laps by itself in the engineering building.