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Autonomous, Ground Robotic Vehicles For Electrical Engineering Technology

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Electrical ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.249.1 - 9.249.18



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Paper Authors

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Robert Riggins

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Bruce Mutter

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

Session 2648

Autonomous Ground Robotic Vehicles for Electrical Engineering Technology

Robert N. Riggins, Bruce V. Mutter Bluefield State College


This paper discusses the design and provides an analysis of the performance of an autonomous ground robotic vehicle (GRV) called Vasilius. Three sections of focus are presented. First, the paper describes the hardware and software design of Vasilius. A novel idea of modeling an autonomous vehicle after human senses and the human decision-making process is presented. For example, Vasilius integrates a large number of independent sensors such as stereoscopic vision to incorporate short-range reaction as well as long-range planning. In addition, the GRV uses two computers in a decentralized control scheme. Secondly, the paper reports the performance of Vasilius, relating theoretical predictions to actual behavior. Performance measures include object avoidance, lane following, waypoint accuracy, follow-the-leader, ramp climbing, turn reaction time, battery life, stop reaction time, behavior in dead-ends and traps, pothole avoidance, and safety. Finally, the paper discusses current on-going research topics with Vasilius, including the incorporation of Kalman Filtering, mapping, and learning. The important side benefit of implementing this applied research robotics project in the ELET 492 Senior Design course, where student teams build robotics for our defense agency clients, is realized with their success in the annual International Ground Robotics Vehicle Competition. This program has proven to be a definite benefit to motivating our students as well as satisfying our clients.

1. Introduction

The 2002-2003 Vasilius Team of Bluefield State College was honored to bring new and innovative ideas to the 11th Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC). The vehicle draws upon many features of past GRV designs. For example, Vasilius uses a camera vision system and a laser measurement system like most GRVs. However, in addition to these standard systems, we decided to explore a new idea of modeling an autonomous vehicle after human senses and the human decision-making process. First, the vision system of the vehicle has stereoscopic vision capability, mimicking a human’s eyes. Stereoscopic vision allows Vasilius to create a 3D map from cameras alone. Second, we prioritized various sensor inputs used by the autonomous algorithm. This simulates a human making a decision and slightly later in time changing that decision because of an unforeseen problem. The student team developed a winning vehicle that competed in all four challenges of the 2003 competition: the Autonomous Challenge, Vehicle Design, Navigation Challenge, and Follow-The-Leader Challenge. In this report, we describe the development of Vasilius and how we incorporated the “human” theme throughout the design. This report is divided into sections of focus. The sections of focus are: Design

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society of Engineering Education

Riggins, R., & Mutter, B. (2004, June), Autonomous, Ground Robotic Vehicles For Electrical Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13366

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