CALVIN: Winner of the Fourth Annual Unmanned Ground Vehicle Design Competition 970174

The Unmanned Ground Vehicle Competition is jointly sponsored by the SAE, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems (AUVS), and Oakland University. College teams, composed of both undergraduate and graduate students, build autonomous vehicles that compete by navigating a 139 meter outdoor obstacle course. The course, which includes a sand pit and a ramp, is defined by painted continuous or dashed boundary lines on grass and pavement. The obstacles are arbitrarily placed, multi-colored plastic-wrapped hay bales. The vehicles must be between 0.9 and 2.7 meters long and less than 1.5 meters wide. They must be either electric-motor or combustion-engine driven and must carry a 9 kilogram payload. All computational power, sensing and control equipment must be carried on board the vehicle. The technologies employed are applicable in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
A written design report and an oral presentation are required from each team, and expert judges evaluate these along with inspecting the actual vehicles. Design judging focuses primarily on the design process rather than the implementation of that design in the actual vehicle. The latter feature is evaluated by performance on the obstacle course. The team winning the design contest receives a $1000 award from SAE and is offered the opportunity to present their design paper at the SAE World Congress. The 1996 competition was held at Walt Disney World in Orlando on July 13- 15.
This paper presents the conceptual design of the vehicle and its components. Innovative aspects of the design are highlighted, along with descriptions of the electronics, software, computers, actuators, sensors, and the means of system integration. The steps followed in the design process are described along with the use of computer-aided design. Considerations of safety, reliability, and durability are included. The analyses leading to the predicted performance of the vehicle (speed, ramp climbing, reaction times, etc.) are also documented. Although not a factor in judging, the paper also includes a cost estimate (not counting student labor) for the final product if it were to be duplicated.


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