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University of Detroit Mercy Journey to IGVC

Here is a chronological journey of  University Detroit Mercy engineering students’ journey to the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition. They used our GEDC-6 navigation sensor to compete with their robot, Bazinga.

Read their story….

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6/2/2012

The drivers have been written and tested for the Sparton GEDC-6  for our robotic vehicle, Bazinga!. The drivers were developed for a 64 bit OS however, and as we will be using a 32 bit OS for the competition, changes have to be made. We have done some preliminary tests using the current drivers, and the results are promising.

6/8/12 Friday:

We arrived and set up our area.

Part of IGVC is discussing the design of your vehicle, and what you added to it this year in a design report, and in a formal presentation. The design report is submitted a month before the competition, but our presentation was yesterday afternoon, and it went quite well. After the presentation, we spent the rest of the day testing our local and global navigation algorithms so that we could qualify our vehicle.

6/9/12 Saturday:

All morning and afternoon was spend testing our local, and global navigation and our image processing in preparation for qualification. Qualification was necessary in order to compete in the autonomous/navigation course. We finally qualified late in the afternoon. We were the 9th university to qualify. After qualifying on Saturday, we tried to compete in the JAUS competition. JAUS is a high level communication standard that the US Military is using. Our first attempt at JAUS was not successful, but we still had three more attempts, and our first attempt was not counted, as we were not able to connect with the Judge’s computer. Myself and another student decided to stay up all night until we had it working properly.

6/10/12 Sunday:

In the wee hours of the morning JAUS code was finally tested, and deemed ready. At 10:30am, we posted our first successful JAUS run, which put us squarely in second place. The first place team had a time of 27.6 seconds around the JAUS course, and we had a time of 32. 7 seconds. In order to win the JAUS competition, we would have to increase the speed of the vehicle.

6/11/12 Monday:

After a second night without much sleep, we were successfully able to complete a test JAUS run at approximately 24 seconds. We attempted another JAUS run at 10:00am. This time the vehicle was not fully charged, so it had trouble making it up a small hill, and we were not able to post a better  run than our previous attempt. Frustrated, we decided that we would have to make sure that the vehicle was fully charged before our final run.

At about 12:15pm we took our final JAUS run, and we were able to post a time of 23.7 seconds. This easily put us in first place in the JAUS challenge!

Conclusion: IGVC was a lot of fun! It was great to see the different designs that other universities had for their robot. Overall we were quite happy with our performance at IGVC. Getting first place in the JAUS challenge was no small feat, as there were around 30 universities competing. We definitely had an advantage over other universities because of the Sparton GEDC-6. The terrain that we were navigating over, was quite uneven, and here the GEDC-6 was excellent. A navigation sensor without gyros would not have been able to give us accurate headings, and would have slowed us down. We were very impressed with the performance of the GEDC-6!

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