(my apologies to anyone on Robogossip as this thread is cross-posted there)
Hi guys. I'm new to robotics, but not to programming or digital systems design. I want to make a robot based on a RC car chassis that can guide itself through a series of cones. So if I set up a path of cones that are spaced, say 10' apart, the robot will say between them.
My first, and thus biggest problem is how to detect the cones and determine their range from the robot. I've considered ultrasonic sensors, lasers, and stereo cameras. Each have their own drawbacks. The basic requirements are:
-identify cones between 10 cm to 400 cm on either side of the vehicle.
-estimate the distance of each cone within 10 cm.
-identify cones at speeds up to 60 mph.
Each approach seems to have some problems.
Ultrasonic: limited range, although some systems claim to get to 4 meters or more. Limited coverage arc; usually about 15 degrees. Limited sampling frequency (usually 10 hz).
Lasers: too expensive
Stereo cameras: limited coverage arc, usually 65 degrees. Limited sampling frequency; usually 30 hz. More complex due to need for stereo processes (pixel correlation, triangulation, etc). Need to have a second, identical camera in each sensor installation.
What do you guys think? My biggest problem with the ultrasonic and camera systems are that their fields of view are too narrow to detect something passing laterally at 60 mph. I've considered cross-directing the sensors (ie. the left-mounted sensor points across the vehicle to the right), but this has a number of negatives for my vehicle. Ideally, my sensors are mounted at the same height as the wheels.