December 27, 2010

Project N.O.M.A.D Final Steps

Project N.O.M.A.D stands for NXT Optimal Movement and Autonomous Drive.

My goals for this project were to create a fully autonomous robot capable of simple decision making, the robots objectives were simple enough, to do all this without crashing into anything:)

How it Works:
S6, the name I gave my robot, accomplishes its tasks in two main ways: obstacle detection and obstacle avoidance, and it does this by utilizing its pivoting SONAR senor head. The robot in its regular mode drives forward, but when it comes within 25cm of an object, S6's full potential is put to use. The first thing S6 does is backup to avoid a collision with the object, then its pivoting head turns left 90 degrees and takes its first SONAR reading and then it turns right 180 degrees and takes its second SONAR reading and then back left 90 degrees to face forward again. Once the SONAR sensor comes back to its original position, the two SONAR readings are compared then s6 travels , either left or right, in the direction which has the greatest distance available to it based on the readings it took earlier and then it begins forward until another obstacle is detected and then it starts all over again. But optimal movement and autonomous decision making is the key to NOMAD's success, taking SPA (Sense Plan Act) to a whole new level!

I started with the guidelines for building the REM model for the nxt. After I completed this, I began working on the sonar attachment provided in Mindstorms kit. Once I finished that, I noticed the SONAR capabilities were quite limited by the fixed sensor position in the robot's design. This was my first engineering problem: how to create a pivoting SONAR sensor that worked properly. Fortunately, it only took me a day to solve this, although little tweaks and improvements were made on the way. Once the robots desgin was completed it was on to programming. This was my first time programming in RobotC so I was a little nervous; but with some help from Lucas Ray at Carngie Mellon and Xander from the RobotC Community Forum, it was a snap!
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