...Autonomous Robot Element [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: ...Autonomous Robot Element

08-15-2007, 10:27 PM
...a few years ago I put together a team to participate in the Darpa Grand Challenge (http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge05/)...we didn't get very far due to the major time commitment needed but we sure learned a lot with the effort...(Darpa is the extreme research wing of the US Miltary...they invent & test neat stuff like the internet, computer GUIs and teletransportors...)...anyhow, if we had known more about the AWD Element we would have used one as our vehicle platform as the shape and size are perfect for laying out various processors & sensors for easy access...

Anyhow for the new challenge, "The Urban Challenge" (http://www.darpa.mil/GRANDCHALLENGE/overview.asp) one team (Ensco) has figured out the praticality of the Element...

So, here's a quick review of the things in the foto:

The circular thing on top is a spinning long range LADAR "camera" developed by a clever fellow from Morgan Hill, CA who owns Voladyne. It builds a ranging profile of the terrain ahead.

On the front of the vehicle, the thing that looks like a GPS antennae, is a one!!! Most vehicle have a 2nd antennae somewhere else on the vehicle (you know, two points make a line...i.e. direction!!!). To compensate for GPS outages there should be an "inertial navigation sensor (INS)" which I think is in the box below the GPS antennae. (Just to keep the calibrations simple, it looks like all the sensors and GPS have been placed by ENSCO in the same plane.) The two things on each side of the front are Sick LADARS that operate as short range "boundary violators"...sorta like bumper cars!!! They can build a terrain profile but it dosn't look like ENSCO has them set up to do that. The hooded box set at an oblique angle is something I have not seen before. I assume it is optical because of the hood but I don't see a lens so I guess it is not a passive sensor. Perhaps it's a flash laser unit for short range bad weather situations. The unit on the very bottom looks like the back of a SICK LADAR (and upside down) that hasn't been completly installed for the foto...

08-15-2007, 10:32 PM
well, that sure puts my mods to shame.

wow, that is neat. :)

08-15-2007, 10:35 PM
Very cool!

If you can, please keep us posted on the progress of the project.

Best of luck,

08-15-2007, 10:43 PM
...we are not participating this time, UnoKat. Team Ensco is another group now called team Case...as in Case Western University...I don't know if they will continue with the Element...

08-15-2007, 11:13 PM
SO Doc finally gave up the Deloreon and got a newer vehicle to use. (just kidding).:D

Looks very interesting. Technology in use to its fullest extent, I like it.

08-16-2007, 08:20 AM
Where's the Home Depot gutter guard?

08-16-2007, 08:46 AM
As someone who's followed the Darpa Grand Challenge and other contests since their inception, I love it!! :cool: Do you know if the team has a build web page or something like that?

Rocket Dog
08-16-2007, 11:12 AM
Oh sure...but does it have an always on rear power outlet?

08-16-2007, 12:09 PM
...Twilight: I took the foto from the Wkipedia listing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge) and the team link is here (http://urbanchallenge.case.edu/). The vehicle shown in the link(dexter) is from the last challenge and is ineligible for the new challenge that requires stock road certified platforms. Hence they may continue with an Element or another van type paltform.

...The main hardware componants are:

Actuators: Control braking, throttle & steering. Some may have a transmission shifter and remote start actuators.
Sensors: Two main types. Perception and vehicle state monitors.
Navigation. Again two main types: GPS and INS. Some teams may have magnetic compasses as back-ups or use Loren radio signel monitors but GPS and INS units are the most accurate. BTW most teams use differential GPS for atmosphere corrections.
Processors: Most Teams use off the shelf computers with power

...However 99.99 % of the work towards a sucessful solution is software coding and 99.99 % of the remainder is hardware componant software integration...

08-16-2007, 12:35 PM
Well, after all the E *was* made to be modded .... :D

Now I want to see the inside.

I wonder if that voids the warranty? :)

Bill in Houston
08-16-2007, 05:55 PM
Glad to see they chose one with non-painted panels. ;-)

08-20-2007, 06:02 AM
Thanks for the info. I had watched the "Great Robot Race (http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34697&highlight=DARPA)" challenges and really enjoyed it.

Good to know the challenges are still going on and that an E was used. -g

08-20-2007, 08:03 AM
Where's the Home Depot gutter guard?

Not to mention the EOC sticker. I sure hope it has one of those.

08-27-2007, 03:53 AM
Pretty awesome actually and my high school participates in the Darpa Challenge thing, but unfortunately we don't use an element. Se if you guys can beat a couple of high schoolers this year xause I know were pretty good!