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A Vehicle Drivable By A Laptop Pc

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.139.1 - 11.139.17



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Paper Authors

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Krisztian Dancs University of North Florida

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Vanja Gadzic University of North Florida

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Tyler Dao University of North Florida

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Truong Nguyen University of North Florida


Chiu Choi University of North Florida

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Dr. Choi received his Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He obtained several years of engineering experience in the industry before beginning his Ph.D. study. He is currently a Professor in the Division of Engineering, University of North Florida. He has strong interest in undergraduate electrical engineering education. His teaching interests include control systems, microcontroller applications, digital system design, electromagnetics, signals and systems, circuit analysis, and others. His research interests include microcontroller-based system design, computational algorithms for controls, and control theory. Dr. Choi is a registered Professional Engineer (Florida).

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Vehicle Drivable by a Laptop PC

Abstract This paper describes the details of converting a regular vehicle into a vehicle that is drivable by a laptop PC. The work was done as a design project in the first controls course in our curriculum. The students applied the knowledge that they gained through the controls course and the microcontroller course to design and built the controllers and the actuators that facilitated the driving of the vehicle by a laptop PC. The vehicle was a 1993 Geo Metro. Initially this vehicle was a five speed manual transmission car. It was converted into an automatic transmission vehicle. This allowed easier control of gear shifting by the PC. Futher modification to the car was done. The original steering wheel, the covering of the transmission lever, and front car seats were removed. This allowed the installation of the drive mechanism. For each of the four operations of steering, accelerating, braking, and transmission gear shifting, a set of drive mechanism was designed and built. Each drive mechanism consisted of an acutuator driven by a dc motor, motor driver chips, and sensors. The sensors sensed the positions and the signals were fedback to a microcontroller that controlled the actuators. The microcontroller used was the Freescale MC68HC12B. Special attention was paid to safety in this project. Careful consideration was given to the scenario of loosing control of the vehicle during testing. Safety procedure was developed and followed strictly. No accident occured during the testing. The modified vehicle was tested in an empty parking lot after notification of authorities. In the test the laptop took the keyboard inputs for accelerating, braking, steering, and gear shifting and issued control signals to the drive electronics. The vechicle responded accordingly as designed. When the speed of the vehicle was kept less than 10 miles per hour, it was maneuverable around the testing area easily. Trying to drive the vehicle from a keyboard was somewhat difficult at high speed and it took time to learn. The work performed in this project can be used for a follow-up project, which goal is to remotely control the vehicle.

I. Introduction

Dancs, K., & Gadzic, V., & Dao, T., & Nguyen, T., & Choi, C. (2006, June), A Vehicle Drivable By A Laptop Pc Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--530

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