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Designing an Autonomously Navigating Model Buggy

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Capstone Design and Innovations in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.407.1 - 25.407.17



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Paper Authors


Richard James Choquette University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Richard James Choquette currently works for Computer Sciences Corporation, serving as a Flight Safety Analyst in the Range Safety Branch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. His work involves supporting the analysis of the various risks involved with the flight operations of sounding rockets, UAVs, balloons, and expendable launch vehicles. Choquette has received an undergraduate degree in engineering with an aerospace specialization from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in May 2011. In addition, he spends most of his free time serving as a volunteer firefighter in Pocomoke City, Md.

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Payam Matin University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Payam Matin is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Aviation Sciences at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (UMES). Matin has received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Oakland University, Rochester, Mich., in May 2005. He has taught a number of courses in the areas of mechanical engineering and aerospace at UMES. Matin’s research has been mostly in the areas of computational mechanics and experimental mechanics. Matin has published more than 20 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. Matin worked in Auto-industry for Chrysler Corporation from 2005 to 2007.

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Ali Eydgahi Eastern Michigan University

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Ali Eydgahi started his career in higher education as a faculty member at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1985. Since then, he has been with the State University of New York, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, and Eastern Michigan University. During 2006-2010, he was Chair of the Department of Engineering and Aviation Sciences, Founder and Director of the Center for 3-D Visualization and Virtual Reality Applications, and Technical Director of the NASA funded MIST Space Vehicle Mission Planning Laboratory at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. In Aug. 2010, he joined Eastern Michigan University as an Associate Dean in the College of Technology and currently is a Professor in the School of Engineering Technology. Eydgahi has served as Secretary/Treasurer and Program Chair of the ECE Division of ASEE, as a regional and chapter Chairman of ASEE, SME, and IEEE, as an ASEE Campus Representative, as a Faculty Advisor for National Society of Black Engineers Chapter, as a Counselor for IEEE Student Branch, and as a session Chair and a member of scientific and international committees for many international conferences. Eydgahi has been an active reviewer for a number of IEEE and ASEE and other reputedly international journals and conferences. He has published more than 100 papers in refereed international and national journals and conference proceedings such as ASEE and IEEE.

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Designing an Autonomously Navigating Model BuggySenior students in the Engineering and technology programs are challenged to thoroughly apply theirlearned technological knowledge and skills toward design and implementation of a challenging engineeringproduct in senior deign or capstone courses.In this paper, a successfully implemented comprehensive design of an autonomously navigating 1/10th scalemodel buggy by a senior engineering student under supervision of two advisers is presented, which utilizesa synergy of competencies gained from undergraduate academic and research experiences with insight to theefforts concerning senior design project.The main goal of this project was to design and implement an autonomous system with the ability tonavigate while utilizing GPS, a digital compass, and infrared (IR) sensors for obstacle avoidance. Thesystem should have been designed in such way that could easily be replicable with a low cost platform whileutilizing open source software.The platform is a 1/10th scale model electric buggy. The microcontroller processes the GPS, compass, andIR sensor data to steer the buggy on the proper course between waypoints. Wireless telemetry provides real-time data on the vehicle’s position, speed, and heading. The microcontroller is an Arduino-based ArduPilot.This is an open source microcontroller with an available code designed to stabilize and navigate a radiocontrol plane along a set of waypoints utilizing GPS. The program and board are open source, allowing fordesign modifications to the board and code. This saves development time and money, essentially providinga running start to the project to allow for a more comprehensive end result. The open source code has beenspecifically developed for an aircraft which travels at high speed while gathering an accurate heading viaGPS. Such code has been modified for the model buggy to work with a digital compass in order to allow forlower speed control with an accurate heading on the ground. In addition, there are a multitude of obstacleson the ground which must be avoided while traveling between waypoints. The buggy utilizes three longrange IR sensors in order to see obstacles 18ft away and avoid them in its path to the next waypoint.The performance of the model buggy has been validated through a number of testing. The performance ofthe system designed is promising. Significant experience has been gained in the development of thisautonomous control system while applying the knowledge learned over the course of undergraduate study. 1

Choquette, R. J., & Matin, P., & Eydgahi, A. (2012, June), Designing an Autonomously Navigating Model Buggy Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21165

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