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Constructing A Wall Follower Robot For A Senior Design Project

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.121.1 - 1.121.7



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Paper Authors

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Scott A. Stefanov

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Pamela J. Neal

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George W. P. York

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Daniel J. Pack

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

Session 1532

Constructing a Wall-Follower Robot for a Senior Design Project

Daniel Pack, Scott Stefanov, George York, and Pam Neal DFEE/US Air Force Academy

ABSTRACT--A good senior design project should incorporate both the breadth and the depth of knowledge a student has acquired throughout the undergraduate curriculum. Construction of an autonomous wall-follower robot accomplishes this goal well. This particular senior project, currently underway at the USAF Academy, emphasizes both hardware design and software development. The objective of the project is to design a robot, with a human like navigational “intelligence,” which maneuvers within a maze to reach a designated target position. To do so, the robot must contain both a high-level reasoning module and a low- level motion control module. In addition, both modules must work together cooperatively to execute the desired task. Construction of the two modules requires software development as well as a complete system design using mechanical parts, circuits, and a microprocessor. For a successful end product, each team, consisting of two students, must give careful consideration to the various design trade-offs. As a result of the project, each student will gain engineering confidence and develop critical and analytical thinking skills.


The study of robots has received a considerable amount of attention in the past two decades. The term “robot” was mentioned in the literature as early as the 1920’s. It was, however, not until the late 1970’s that a community of scholars dedicated in this subject emerged. The field of robotics is unique in that it incorporates multiple disciplines: specialties include computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, and mathematics, to name a few. Due to this interdisciplinary nature, constructing a robot requires understanding of various facets of the aforementioned areas of expertise.

By the early 80’s the technology had matured enough to produce robots with reasonable size, weight, and capability. Robots can now be easily found in the manufacturing sector of industry. Conventional robots, however, still perform repetitive tasks without much “intelligence.” Researchers around the globe now seek ways to embed intelligence in robots in order to perform complex tasks. Currently, specific tasks can be executed by robots using AI tools, but no universal system exists that can truly “think.” Therefore, construction of even a simple robot for a task such as navigation within a maze can be challenging and educational. With this in mind we have proposed building a wall-follower robot as a senior design project for our EE department seniors. The project was one of many interesting projects (approximately 20) students can choose from, and two seniors decided to take the challenge. We initially wanted to have more than a single team to encourage efficient design through a competition among project design teams, but we believe we can still learn valuable lessons from the single team experience. The team currently has a working prototype which can control the motion of the wheels while an Infrared (IR) system monitors for wall detection. Eventually,

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Stefanov, S. A., & Neal, P. J., & York, G. W. P., & Pack, D. J. (1996, June), Constructing A Wall Follower Robot For A Senior Design Project Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5937

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