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The UTRA ART team would like to thank Tsubaki Canada for providing us with some awesome drive chains for the automonous rover.
Heres are some pictures of members unboxing it!
Check out their site if you are looking for chains, sprockets, bushings and more: http://tsubaki.ca/
With great joy I report that UTRA's ART team has won bronze in the IARRC competition on July 28, 2012. IARRC is an annual autonomous robot racing competition that was held in University of British Columbia . The competition was fun, the city was beautiful and the hosts were very hospitable. It was an enthralling experience for the team.
IARRC had 3 major components. One was the technical report and presentation of our robot. Second was a drag race, where the challenge is to autonomously traverse a straight path and the robot that reaches the finish line first wins the race. Third was the circuit race, where the challenge was to autonomously navigate a circuit defined by cones grass and curbs. The circuit had obstacles, traffic lights, stop signs and a tunnel. The robot to traverse the circuit in the least time and least number of faults, such as hitting cones, not stoping at traffic light etc, would win the circuit race. UTRA's robot had many unexpected results in the competition. We had the highest score in the technical report and presentation. We were second in the drag race, which is quite a surprise given our robot's top speed is around 1 m/s. The biggest surprise of all was that we finished 3rd in the circuit race, because our practice runs just before the competition were flawless! There were a number of unpredicted external factors that affected our algorithm. For example, the LIDAR was detecting obstacles in locations were there weren't any obstacles. This never happened during our test runs in Toronto. Our first guess was that the pavement was slanted, but later we were told that the sun can affect the LIDAR as well. In addition the algorithm that we were using for navigation used a localization method that did not work very well in open spaces, which they have a lot in Vancouver, but not so much in Toronto. So, we had to write another navigation algorithm from scratch on the night before the competition. Needless to say, it was a sleepless night for us. During the competition, the sun was brighter than when we calibrated our vision algorithm thus that did not perform very well. And to make matters worse, they added a tunnel to the course that was too narrow and short so if our robot bumped into anything in the tunnel then the cameras on the robot will misalign only to decapitate the vision even further. Even with these issues ,and a sleepless night followed by a showerless day, we were able to finish the course and secure 3rd place. We have learnt a lot from this experience and from the people that we have met. We will use this knowledge to make appropriate changes to the robot.
UTRA would like to sincerely thank the engineering faculty at University of Toronto; our sponsors, SolidWorks, Pololu, Atmel , for their support. We couldn't have done this without you.
July 22-23, 2011, University of British Columbia, British Columbia
UTRA flew 7 members across the country to British Columbia to compete in RobotRacing 2011 hosted by UBC. For this competition, UTRA designed and built the robot from the chassis and drive system to the PCBs circuitry.
(From left to right) Marc Ovsec, Raymond Lam, Wilson Tan, Billy Jun, Paul Giampuzzi, Zongyi Yang, Gabriel Ongpauco
Drag Race Competition (3rd Place)
The drag race competition pits 2 robots against one another on a 30m long straightaway to see which one is the fastest (while staying within the track).
UTonomous proved that raw speed alone is not enough to succeed in this competition, control is needed too.
Circuit Race Competition
In the circuit race competition, robots must navigate through a course outlined by pylons while stopping at stop signs or traffic lights, going up/down ramps and avoiding other robots.
UTonomous was one of the few robots that were able to successfully navigate the course.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with UTonomous and we'll be looking to improve it for next year.
Special Thanks to the Jun family for providing us with delicious Korean food during our stay in Vancouver and the Festejo family for picking us up from Vancouver airport and providing UTRA with some transit passes.
May 6-8, 2011, Valcartier Garrison, Quebec
University of Toronto placed 2nd in the 2011 UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) competition hosted by Unmanned Systems Canada. This was the first time this competition was run and UTRA was proud to be a part of it. Nine members drove 9 hours straight from Toronto to Quebec and arrived at the Canadian Forces Military Base at ~3:00-4:00 am. Unfortunately it rained through most of the 1st and 2nd day causing the competition to be moved indoors.
This was the first time UTRA has designed an autonomous robot of such a large scale and numerous problems were expected. A few temporary patches (like changing the outdoor logic to indoor logic) were made during the competition. Overall, the competition provided valuable experience for the team and gave us a good idea on how to move forward and improve our robot.
UTRA looks forward to bringing home the gold for the next competition.
The Autonomous Rover Team (ART) designs and builds the components for several robots. Components are designed to be modular and chassis-independent. Therefore we will build a chassis specific to a competition, install or pre-built components to make it autonomous, then tweak the code to competition-specific details. Sounds simple, right? Now we just need you to make those ‘pre-built’ components :)
To date, UTRA has been modifying off-the-shelf vehicles like electric wheelchairs and RC trucks. We need mechanical students with intermediate knowledge to help us make the required modifications (like computer mounts, sensor mounts, etc.).
We would love to build a chassis from scratch, but we’re waiting some highly motivated mechanical students to take the lead!
ART is a great place to learn how to build some simple circuits and gain some hands-on experience in wiring, soldering, etc. We need circuits that range from PCBs for our microelectronics, to high voltage (48V-DC), high current (100A) circuits. Learn and build protection circuitry, motor controllers, filters, and much more!
For high-level artificial intelligence (AI), ART uses off-the-shelf software packages to keep code modular and integration easy. We program in C++ and C#, but are not opposed to Java and Python. Learn how to use and make sense of sensor data to accomplish a task. Test your algorithms in simulation, before putting them on the real robot.
We do our low-level (motor control, analog sensor interface) control on Atmel AVR microcontrollers. We program exclusively in C – we are opposed to assembly. Learn the basics of how to move a motor, read a sensor, communicate with a computer, and much more!
A robot is only as good as its sensors. ART buys a few high-end sensors and shares them across robot platforms. A large portion of our budget goes to these sensors, so we need people that know them inside and out. What they’re capable of, how to communicate with them, how to protect them, and which new sensors are required!