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Suburban Outdoor Challenge For Autonomous Mobile Robots

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Mobile Robots in Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

13.1116.1 - 13.1116.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4368

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

author page

Robert Avanzato Pennsylvania State University, Abington Campus

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

Suburban Outdoor Challenge for Autonomous Mobile Robots

Abstract

An outdoor robot design contest, the Mini Grand Challenge, was developed at the Penn State Abington campus to promote advances in robotics education, computer vision, and rapid prototyping. The contest is partly inspired by the DARPA Grand Challenge, but our contest emphasizes low-cost hardware and software solutions, accessibility, spectator interaction, and education. The contest requires autonomous mobile robots to navigate unmarked, paved pathways on a suburban college campus and reach GPS waypoints. Robots must avoid obstacles and robots are also awarded points for interacting and entertaining spectators. A successful robot platform constructed for less than $300 and controlled by a laptop running MATLAB software was developed by undergraduate students. The contest, offered annually, was first offered in 2005 and is open to students at all levels of education (K-12 and college) and beyond. This contest can be used to successfully introduce computer vision and other robot technologies into the undergraduate curriculum.

1. Introduction

An outdoor robot design contest, called the Mini Grand Challenge, was developed at the Penn State Abington campus to promote advances in robot education, computer vision, systems engineering, and rapid prototyping. The contest is partly inspired by the DARPA Grand Challenge [1], but our contest emphasizes low-cost (yet sophisticated) hardware and software solutions, accessibility to a wide range of participants, spectator interaction, and education.

The contest requires autonomous, electric mobile robots to navigate unmarked pathways on a suburban college campus and reach GPS waypoints. Robots must avoid obstacles and robots are also awarded points for interacting and entertaining spectators. The contest is open to participants of all ages and educational backgrounds - K-12, college, and beyond. Any hardware or software solutions are permitted to be used in the development of a robot for this contest. A functional robot platform constructed for less than $300 and controlled by a laptop running MATLAB software was developed by undergraduate students at the Penn State Abington campus [2].

Design and development of a robot for this contest has been integrated into a lower- division robotics design course and is also the focus of undergraduate research activity at our campus. The current educational initiative consists of three objectives: 1) the outdoor robot contest which is offered annually and open to the public; 2) providing strategy for construction of a low-cost autonomous robot platform, and 3) providing educational

Avanzato, R. (2008, June), Suburban Outdoor Challenge For Autonomous Mobile Robots Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4368

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