Author Topic: Automated Following RC Car  (Read 3894 times)

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Offline VinTopic starter

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Automated Following RC Car
« on: March 05, 2008, 02:36:49 AM »
Hi guys, not really sure where to post this, but here seems like a reasonable place, please move this thread if it's in the wrong place. I'm working on a school project in which a micro controlled RC car using sensors follows another RC car that is controlled by a human. I've spent a lot of time searching the internet, but couldn't find similar projects. The reason for this post is that I was hoping maybe some on you have seen videos/demonstrations of something like this in which you would like to share with me. I just want to get an idea if my project is on par with other similar attempts in terms of performance. As of now, my project is looking decent and goes pretty fast (compared to other videos on youtube where the robots move pretty slowly). The closest examples that I have seen deal with line following robots, and obstacle detection. I have also seen examples of robots following another object, but the object emits a signal of some sort, which my lead object (another RC car) does not.

The idea of the project is to basically have automatic cruise control in which your following vehicle can follow another lead vehicle without having the lead vehicle send any type of signal/communication to the other vehicle. Thus the following is done strictly by the sensors on the follower vehicle. I should have a video to share with you guys if you want by next week since I have to demo it. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time guys.

This is the closest project that I could find, but it moves so slowly. Also it seems as if the two are communicating with each other assuming from the antennas.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2008, 02:48:46 AM by Vin »

Offline Rothchild

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2008, 02:16:36 PM »
While I've never used an IR beacon, I think it'd fit your project pretty well.  Check out http://www.robotshop.ca/home/products/robot-parts/microcontrollers/miscellaneous-microcontroller-en/pololu-ir-beacon-development-kit.html for more info on their use in "cat & mouse" robots.

Offline Darkbluestar

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2008, 05:05:56 PM »
Nice job. I remembered a website I had seen a while back that reminded me of what you did and I just found it. http://www.cs.uwyo.edu/~wspears/maxelbot/
Specifically the second video it had one RC controlled robot and the other two autonomously follow the RC one.

Offline VinTopic starter

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2008, 09:55:31 PM »
While I've never used an IR beacon, I think it'd fit your project pretty well.  Check out http://www.robotshop.ca/home/products/robot-parts/microcontrollers/miscellaneous-microcontroller-en/pololu-ir-beacon-development-kit.html for more info on their use in "cat & mouse" robots.


I've seen that beacon before. But this is exactly what I want to avoid. My thinking is that in the real world, it wouldn't be too useful if this implementation required other people to adopt the technology also for it to work. I want it so that if one person wants to use this technology, they can without requiring the rest of the world to have it also. I appreciate the input though, thanks.

Offline VinTopic starter

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2008, 10:03:20 PM »
Nice job. I remembered a website I had seen a while back that reminded me of what you did and I just found it. http://www.cs.uwyo.edu/~wspears/maxelbot/
Specifically the second video it had one RC controlled robot and the other two autonomously follow the RC one.


Thanks, this is great. I remember watching some videos of this last night, but I was under the impression that the bots were communicating with each other. But upon reading the description again, it states that " there is no global controller what-so-ever. This means there are no hidden beacons, GPS units, over-head cameras, etc. There is no pre-programmed environmental knowledge. There is no central CPU." This is exactly what I want to accomplish. I'm not sure why the lead vehicle seems to still have all the sensors as the other vehicles though. It may be because they make all the vehicles capable of being a leader or a follower. Also, when the guy starts guiding the bots by his walking path, I don't know how the bots know to follow him and not some other object (like when he goes through the tree/bush area). I'm guessing that the bots calibrate themselves and somehow lock onto a lead object and ignore all other objects for following purposes. I appreciate the link, thanks again.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2008, 10:24:10 PM by Vin »

Offline Admin

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2008, 02:43:30 PM »
By far the simplest way is to put a bunch of bright LEDs on the lead robot, and make the follower robot a simple photovore ;D

Offline cooldog

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2008, 07:30:43 PM »
By far the simplest way is to put a bunch of bright LEDs on the lead robot, and make the follower robot a simple photovore ;D

just a idea

use the $50 robot photovore put replace the photocells with ir range finders 0 code change then make the leds on the other robot IR. it just looks cooler when you see two robots follow each other without the bright lights and it won't get lost if it sees the sun
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Offline Admin

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2008, 07:32:28 PM »
Quote
and it won't get lost if it sees the sun
the sun also emits infrared light ;)

but yea, same concept in infrared, you just can't see it . . .

Offline VinTopic starter

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2008, 03:17:37 AM »
I came around to making a demo video, you can find it in this thread http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=3618.0 . Check it out if you'd like, thanks.

Offline williammspears

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Re: Automated Following RC Car
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2008, 02:59:20 AM »
Nice job. I remembered a website I had seen a while back that reminded me of what you did and I just found it. http://www.cs.uwyo.edu/~wspears/maxelbot/
Specifically the second video it had one RC controlled robot and the other two autonomously follow the RC one.


Thanks, this is great. I remember watching some videos of this last night, but I was under the impression that the bots were communicating with each other. But upon reading the description again, it states that " there is no global controller what-so-ever. This means there are no hidden beacons, GPS units, over-head cameras, etc. There is no pre-programmed environmental knowledge. There is no central CPU." This is exactly what I want to accomplish. I'm not sure why the lead vehicle seems to still have all the sensors as the other vehicles though. It may be because they make all the vehicles capable of being a leader or a follower. Also, when the guy starts guiding the bots by his walking path, I don't know how the bots know to follow him and not some other object (like when he goes through the tree/bush area). I'm guessing that the bots calibrate themselves and somehow lock onto a lead object and ignore all other objects for following purposes. I appreciate the link, thanks again.


I thought I'd clarify what is happening. The lead vehicle *is* emitting an RF and acoustic pulse. The follower is using trilateration to locate the leader and track it. By "hidden beacons" we were referring to beacons embedded in the
environment. Yes, all of our vehicles can be leaders or followers. We generally have one leader and multiple followers. We also do experiments where no one is a leader or follower (true swarm robotics style research).  We have a separate obstacle avoidance module that can kick in if the robot is being led into an obstacle. Hope this helps! I'm "the guy" mentioned above.  :)

 


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