The problem with being an embedded software engineer by day and doing prety much the same think at home is that you can get burned out. Not normaly an issue when work is slow or boring. But when you work 10-12 hours a day on complex technical issues, its hard to put in a few more hours when you ge home. Somedays, all I want is dinner, and to watch something mindless on TV (there is no shortage of mindles crap of TV).
So that is where I am now. Been waiting for months to get hardware. It was delayed for many reasons. Now I get it, they want me to turn it around overnight. Here is a multimillion dollar hardware design effort that on Thursday was a box of parts. Friday lunch was a built unit, and could we please have it working by Sunday evening so that it could be taken to a trade show? Really? Hardware gets 6 months and software gets a short weekend? But for those in the trade, this is not uncommon.
There are also other interesting issue working for a large company like I do. The best approximation of the AVC competition area is the overflow parking lot at work. Same size and shape with a good view of the south sky. It also has a survey benchmark for great GPS comparisons. During the week, the only cars there are hot rods people don’t want scratched. On weekends it is deserted. So I made the request to use the parking lot for testing. I hate to think how much that simple request has cost the company. Security, Facilities, Ethics, Legal, Environmental Health, Building Mayor, and every project manager in the building had to bless the request. Took nearly a month and a signed disclaimer form to get approval. But on the other hand, I should be proud in that they just did not say no out of ease.
One of the first things I want to do is to collect GPS data for extended periods at the benchmark. That should start to tell me if the GPS is at all useful. Next I will collect GPS data of the car in motion but tightly constrained to a straight line. I plan on stretching a rope on the ground that will pass through loops on the car.