anveshakA Functional Rover based on Rocker bogie suspension mechanism, inspired from Mars Curiosity Rover. The Robot is scratch built using Laser cut MDF and Pitsco Tetrix kit, uses NI myRIO & Windows Laptop for sensing and control, LabVIEW (RT, FPGA & Stereo vision) is used for programming. This Robot implements Stereo vision for obstacle avoidance similar to NASA Curiosity and communication to Ground station. We also implement LIDAR for obstacle sensing which enables robot navigation during night.
This project is solving the ExoMars Rover is My Robot challenge. Description
Aim: To build a Robot for educational purpose which helps to understand/teach some of the challenges in exploring . This rover is capable to go over the small obstacle on an uneven terrain, avoid obstacles, ability to stream video and status to Ground station (Laptop) over Wi-Fi, ability to take instructions from Ground station and ability to simulate propagation delay. Mechanical design: This rover uses a Rocker bogie mechanism, with 6 DC geared motors powering 6 wheels, 4 Servo motors to steer front and rear wheels to turn. Rocker bogie suspension mechanism has no spring or axels for each wheel, allowing rover to climb obstacle and used by NASA Curiosity rover.
Sensing: Obstacle avoidance is achieved by using Stereo Vision (2 web cameras) similar to Mars Curiosity Rover for operation in bright day light/outdoor environment and LIDAR is also implemented which works indoors / dark environment. Due to the process intensive stereo vision algorithms, we have chosen to implement Stereo vision and LIDAR on on-board Laptop (Windows 7 - MacBook pro 13”)
Control: Motor and steering mechanism is controlled by NI myRIO hardware development platform. NI myRIO is chosen for this application for the following reasons: 1) FPGA: It uses Xilinx Zynq chip which consist of dual core arm processor and FPGA on a single chip. FPGA programming enables us to implement custom timers and counters for PWM and Quadrature encoders. 2) High IO count (see IO summary) 3) LabVIEW development environment 4) Runs LabVIEW Realtime operating system (Linux RT).
Communication: On Robot – Laptop and myRIO – via USB cable (Virtual Ethernet) Laptop on Robot and Ground station Laptop– Via Wi-Fi switch (which simulates the Orbiter satellites orbiting Mars). A configurable delay will be provided to simulate the communication delay between Mars and Earth.
IO Summary: 22 – Counters / Timers on FPGA 9 – Analog Inputs 2 – Logitech web cameras (USB) – Quick cam pro 9000 1 – LIDAR – Hokuyo URG-04LX-UG01
Processing – NI myRIO 1900 and Windows Laptop (2009 macbook pro 13”)
License: MIT license (MIT)
Source Code/Project URL: http://goo.gl/JFnoFm