Sparkfun AVC

I have always had a life goal of making a robot. As a kid I was going to make one from a child’s electric ride-in toy using 74 series logic from a book I had. Later I was going to build one around the Mattel Trax tank toy. Then I got involved with FIRST LEGO League and make dozens of small ones. But my goal to make a “real” robot has never been completed.Many years ago I got interested in the Trinity Fire Fighting robotic competition, but never got around to entering. A year or so ago, I found the Autonomous Vehicle Competition (AVC) sponsored by Sparkfun. So this time, I am making plans for the 2013 competition.

I asked around work and found a few people that will give me limited help. People with FPGA, electrical design, and algorithm expertise. People who truly understand a Kalman filter and walk the Random Walk Error of a gyro means.

I have started to track down a test chassis and sensor. I am also looking into a processor. As an embedded engineer, I have access to lots of technologies most hobbyist never see. At work I play with FPGA, infrared imagers, ARM processors, high end GPS systems, lasers, and other high end toys. I also have an ear to the vendors selling bleeding edge technology. So this robot will likely pull from these areas. Not that I can use company assets for this entry, but I can sure use the knowledge I have gained.

So first up is a processor. I want to use an ARM processor. Of all the processors I have used, this is by far my favorite. But the compiler and JTAG pods are bloody expensive. That is till I learned that there was a GNU toolchain for ARM and that the OpenOCD project has make JTAG affordable. Currently I am picking a cheap development board to make sure it all can work before I buy a much more capable board.


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2 Responses to Sparkfun AVC

  1. Very cool! I hope you continue posting about your progress. Sounds like you have some absolutely amazing resources at your disposal. Best of luck!

    • Skye Sweeney says:

      Thanks for the comment. I have been clearing out old projects to make room for this. Want to get the skeleton in place this summer when my son is home. He is my Kalman filter expert. Got to suck him dry while I still can.

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