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Senior Design Project: A Robotic System Using Stereoscopic Cameras For Navigation

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Capstone Design I

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1069.1 - 13.1069.9



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Paper Authors


Andrew Willis University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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Andrew Willis is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He received his B.Sc. in Computer Science and B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic University in Worcester, Massachusetts. After working in industry for four years, Andrew attended graduate school at Brown University where he obtained a Sc.M. in Applied Mathematics and a Sc.M. in Electrical Engineering completing a Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences in 2004. He is a member of the ASEE, IEEE, ACM, AAAS and Sigma Xi. His current research focuses on 3D computer vision, 3D computer graphics, and stochastic inferencing for geometric problems.

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James Conrad University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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


Abstract This paper describes a senior design project involving eight undergraduates split into two teams: (1) a computer vision based navigational control team and (2) a robot vehicle design team. Each team was tasked with a specific goal relative to completing the project. The computer vision team’s goal was to develop an embedded stereoscopic vision system that will observe the scene around the robot and automatically provide navigational controls to the vehicle. The robot vehicle design team’s goal was to develop a robotic system capable of navigating coarse terrain given a sequence of navigation of commands.

Each team had to accomplish a series of intermediate tasks in the process of their design. For the computer vision design team, intermediate design tasks included examination of real-time operating systems (RTOS), sensor selection, and algorithm development. Specific educational outcomes of the computer vision aspects of the design project included (1) understanding the theoretical models of camera image formation, (2) developing models for 3D surface geometry necessary to implement a stereo reconstruction system, (3) software implementation of digital camera Linux drivers, (4) algorithmic time and space requirements for stereoscopic reconstruction algorithms and (5) power-sensitive design for embedded digital signal processing systems. For the robotic vehicle design team, the primary tasks included building the mechanical part of the vehicle, adding sensors and computing hardware, and developing movement algorithms. Specific educational outcomes of the vehicle design aspects of the project included (1) understanding pulse width modulated (PWM) motor controllers, (2) power considerations in mobile computing designs, (3) Linux device driver programming, and (4) RS232 hardware communications design. This paper describes the experiences of the split-team project, including successes and failures. Also included are recommendations to senior design faculty on how to organize and mentor such projects.

1. Introduction This project consisted of two groups of four undergraduate students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The combined project goal was to design and construct a robotic vehicle capable of performing navigation using a pair of digital cameras. This was a particularly difficult challenge, as it required a highly diverse set of skills applied in concert that integrate to create compatible components of a complex device.

The project was proposed to and subsequently sponsored by the NC Space Grant Consortium, and administrator of funding for NASA.


Willis, A., & Conrad, J. (2008, June), Senior Design Project: A Robotic System Using Stereoscopic Cameras For Navigation Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4017

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