This project consists of a mobile robot vehicle which can be controlled using data from an onboard GPS unit and a remote laptop base station. The robot uses advanced communication mediums in order to control and monitor its movement. Although the robot itself has a limited use, the purpose of developing the vehicle is a proof of concept. The combined technology used in this project may lead t o future development in the area of GPS navigation. A GPS receiver is used to determine the current location of the robot. A wireless communications device with WiFi capability captures the GPS raw data from the receiver and transmits the data to a base station. Based on the GPS data readings, the base station calculates the direction the robot needs to travel in order to reach the final destination.
The base station does not take into account the mechanical issues with the physical structure of the robot or the obstacles that may be in the way of the vehicle. The base station sends data and commands via wireless link to a microprocessor onboard the vehicle. The microprocessor controls the physical motion of the vehicle, taking into account the obstacles that may be in the way and adjusts the steering accordingly. There are always accuracy issues in any mechanical device. Some of the issues include wheel slippage, steering adjustments and speed of communication between mechanical and electrical devices. The microprocessor provides the control and speed to handle these mechanical problems and adjusts the robot's motion accordingly
The goal of this project is to design and develop a logical robotic vehicle which has the ability to receive commands and move in the appropriate direction without any collisions. The robot should have the ability to avoid obstacles that may be in the way while it is traversing between a set of predefined waypoints on relatively smooth ground and arrive at its final destination. The vehicle's physical motion is controlled by a DC motor to move forward and back and a stepper motor which controls the steering from left to right.
The signals used to activate both motors are received by an onboard processor that takes into account the range of steering, obstacles and steering calibration before its sends data to t he mechanical devices. The microprocessor obtains data from a logical pc program that calculates the direction the vehicle must travel in order to reach the various waypoints using GPS technology and a control algorithm. This report explains the strategy used in implementing the various different communication mediums as well as the hardware used to communicate data between systems. It also covers various mechanical and electrical design specifications which are crucial to the operation of the system
GPS technology has evolved quickly over the years. What seemed impossible at its outset can now fit in a shirt pocket. GPS technology has become accurate enough to pinpoint one's location to within three meters or less given the proper environment. With affordable receivers and free signal services, GPS based applications are worth exploring. An inexpensive GPS-controlled vehicle would serve as a stepping stone for a variety of commercial applications, such as fleet management, vehicle tracking and remote navigation. With the addition of an 802.11b wireless interface, the vehicle could be operated remotely from anywhere in the world
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