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'[PIC]: controller'
2002\02\06@202757 by Tony Nixon

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Hi all,

Does anyone here seriously know about motion control software
techniques, or anyone that does?


I've hit the limits of my knowledge, and the 'boss' is now prepared to
use outside help. (Paid no less)

The project is a big step up to the car control project I have been
working on, but we want to take the human factor out of the equation. (I
can't steer accurate enough at high speed - although I'm not too bad
now, I've progressed from 'L' plates to 'P' ;-))

The basic need is to make the vehicle 'see' a line to follow and control
it's own speed, which can be up to 110KPH. Most times the line will be
straight, but odd occassions will mean the car has to follow curves at
different speeds.

Now hold on to your hats....The boss wants a single button - [GO]. That
means the software has to know how to 'drive' and control but it may not
know the running peculiarities of any particular car until the time of
use. (A series learning algorithm me thinks, and perhaps not possible??)

The hardware so far is proven with many 'drives' accomplished, but the
future of this project will depend on smart software. I used a couple of
PICs earlier, but for fast brain power, I think something more
sophisticated is needed.

One other thing, is that the vehicles may be totally trashed at the end,
so the control 'card' needs to be reasonably cheap and expendable. So
far, the 'card' I made has survived multiple tests. It is only 6" X 6"
and in a roll cage with floating mounts.

I'm thinking along the lines of a vision based system.

Big ask, any ideas :-)

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2002\02\06@205001 by David VanHorn

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>
>I'm thinking along the lines of a vision based system.

You may not need full vision, if you can sense the line at multiple points.
The far out ones would tell you what's coming up, and the nearest would
tell you where you are. You should be able to feed that into a PID sort of
system pretty easily.

Getting the constants would be more interesting, and would probably take a
fixed (stencilled?) test pattern in the start of the run.  You could always
abort and hit the brakes if the CPU isn't happy with the result of the cal
stripe.

Paint might not be the best thing to sense here..
Is a buried wire acceptable?  Feedback rate should be higher, and a lot
less affected by junk and gaps in the paint.

I know they guide vehicles this way in the arctic, fully automatic
steering. (lower speed though, since they have passengers.)

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2002\02\07@072931 by NDuckworth

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Just a thought, could you encode data in the line you're following (like a
coarse barcode) to warn of an upcoming curve, straight, end of circuit etc?
That would give you more time to apply brakes etc.

Nigel


On Thursday, February 07, 2002 1:25 AM, Tony Nixon
[SMTP:spam_OUTTony.NixonTakeThisOuTspamENG.MONASH.EDU.AU] wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\02\07@074838 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: David VanHorn [SMTP:.....dvanhornKILLspamspam@spam@CEDAR.NET]
> Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 1:52 AM
> To:   PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      Re: [PIC]: controller
>
> >
> >I'm thinking along the lines of a vision based system.
>
> You may not need full vision, if you can sense the line at multiple
> points.
> The far out ones would tell you what's coming up, and the nearest would
> tell you where you are. You should be able to feed that into a PID sort of
> system pretty easily.
>
I initialy thought this was one way to go, but if you consider the speeds
that the car is going to achieve, the control system is going to have to
anticipate the corners well before it gets to them in order to slow down.
At 110KPH you are travelling at over 30 m/s.  Even some huge 10 meter
extension in front of the car is only going to give you 0.3 seconds advance
information which somehow dosen't seem enough (IMO).  Perhaps this could
work if none of the corners were fairly shallow?

If the system has to be completely self contained within the car, a vision
system is probably the way to go.  With a high contrast line, a cheap B/W
CCD camera would likely be adequate.  The processing is way beyond the
average 8 bit micro though, I would be looking at embedded PC's at this
stage, but of course cost will be an issue.  If it's ruggedised enough then
perhaps it could be made re-usable?

OTOH you could have beacons around the course indicating the approach to a
bend.  A coded RF data stream could tell the car what speed it should be
hitting in X meters and the onboard control system would have to sort out
the braking/deceleration.  A similar beacon would be used to accelerate the
car after exiting the corner.

The requirement for one sytem to work in all cars is going to require some
kind of adaptive control system, perhaps a self tuning PID controller?

Regards

Mike

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2002\02\07@090033 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nigel Duckworth [SMTP:.....NDuckworthKILLspamspam.....signam.co.uk]
> Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 11:07 AM
> To:   EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      [PIC]: controller
>
> Just a thought, could you encode data in the line you're following (like a
> coarse barcode) to warn of an upcoming curve, straight, end of circuit
> etc?
> That would give you more time to apply brakes etc.
>
> Nigel
>
Now that is a neat idea!  You'd have to make your barcode reading code very
robust to deal with any dirt/leaves etc. but you could probably overcome
that using including error correction bits on the barcode, and/or redundant
barcodes.

Definately worth investigating anyway.

Mike

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2002\02\07@090812 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Just a thought, could you encode data in the line you're following (like a
>coarse barcode) to warn of an upcoming curve, straight, end of circuit etc?
>That would give you more time to apply brakes etc.

That would be a sneaky one, you probably do not need to encode much, just a
dash length which determines the vehicles speed, and it locks onto it PLL
style, it adjusts its speed so the frequency of the dashes under the sensor
is constant.

It would need a bit of experimenting to get the dash length correct so the
vehicle does not wander, especially at low speeds, during the inter-dash
interval.

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2002\02\07@093934 by Claudio Tagliola

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Hi,

Are you aware that the people of Daimler-Benz are trying this for over
then 10 years now, with a humongous research budget. I don't know the
current state, but a few years ago they had a trunk full of SGI silicon,
worth more then the average Benz. Not the kind of equipment to trash at
the end of a drive.

May I ask what this project is for? I have a wild imagination, but can't
put your last remark about the vehicles being trashed...

BTW if you succees to get your car to drive autonomously with a speed of
110 Kph, give the guys of Benz a ring. I think they have a job opening.
:)

Regards,
Claudio

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2002\02\07@101300 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

I strongly suspect Benz have been trying to acheive this using the existing
road infrastructure, i.e. getting the computer to recognise road signs, the
edges and middle of the road, other cars, pedestrains etc.  This is a
massive task, although I have seen a program that showed a car in the US
that had completed several thousand miles of testing and all the software
ran on a fairly powerfull desktop PC.

Tony at least shouldn't have to worry about other cars and people, stop
signs, traffic lights etc..etc..

Mike

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2002\02\07@103831 by David VanHorn

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At 01:49 PM 2/7/02 +0000, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >Just a thought, could you encode data in the line you're following (like a
> >coarse barcode) to warn of an upcoming curve, straight, end of circuit etc?
> >That would give you more time to apply brakes etc.
>
>That would be a sneaky one, you probably do not need to encode much, just
>a dash length which determines the vehicles speed, and it locks onto it
>PLL style, it adjusts its speed so the frequency of the dashes under the
>sensor is constant.

I always thought cruise controls should work this way on the highway. They
need to be tolerant of missing pulses, but given that the expected range is
pretty narrow, I don't see too much of a problem.

It's really irritating when you come across someone who has their cruise
set about 0.1 MPH lower than yours.

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2002\02\07@103850 by David VanHorn

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>
>I initialy thought this was one way to go, but if you consider the speeds
>that the car is going to achieve, the control system is going to have to
>anticipate the corners well before it gets to them in order to slow down.

Does he need corners? I thought all he needed was to track a more-or-less
straight line, and to be a bit forgiving of "wiggles".

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2002\02\07@112533 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: David VanHorn [SMTP:KILLspamdvanhornKILLspamspamCEDAR.NET]
> Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 3:27 PM
> To:   RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      Re: [PIC]: controller
>
> >
> >I initialy thought this was one way to go, but if you consider the speeds
> >that the car is going to achieve, the control system is going to have to
> >anticipate the corners well before it gets to them in order to slow down.
>
> Does he need corners? I thought all he needed was to track a more-or-less
> straight line, and to be a bit forgiving of "wiggles".
>
Need some clarification I feel :o)  He said that most of the time will be
spent on straights but it will need to go around corners at different
speeds.

I wish my PIC's were learning how to drive cars at 110kph rather than
controlling temperatures etc :o)

Mike

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2002\02\07@121802 by Josh Koffman

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What if you could package the control electronics in a little towable
trailer. Then when impact is iminent and no more steering is required,
have it lock the on board controls to "full steam ahead" and detach
itself from the car. It would still have to be somewhat rugged, and
you'd have to put brakes on it so that the inertia doesn't carry it
right into the back of the car. Or <bg> you could get some model
rockets, and have it blast off from the top of the car a la fighter
pilot ejection seat :) If you do go with that...I wanna see videos :)

Josh
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Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:

> If the system has to be completely self contained within the car, a vision
> system is probably the way to go.  With a high contrast line, a cheap B/W
> CCD camera would likely be adequate.  The processing is way beyond the
> average 8 bit micro though, I would be looking at embedded PC's at this
> stage, but of course cost will be an issue.  If it's ruggedised enough then
> perhaps it could be made re-usable?

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2002\02\07@123045 by Josh Koffman

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I think there's a difference though. The car manufacturers want to get a
lot of cars to drive together on the same road autonomously, with lots
of safety precautions. Tony needs to get a single car to crash itself
with no one in it. While I agree his boss probably won't be happy if it
goes awry and the car doesn't crash in the right place, at least no one
will be hurt (hopefully). Am I somewhat right Tony?

Josh

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completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
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Claudio Tagliola wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\02\07@123750 by David VanHorn

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At 12:45 PM 2/7/02 -0500, Josh Koffman wrote:
>I think there's a difference though. The car manufacturers want to get a
>lot of cars to drive together on the same road autonomously, with lots of
>safety precautions. Tony needs to get a single car to crash itself with no
>one in it.

The boys from detroit could likely provide tony with some systems that do
what HE wants.. :)

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2002\02\07@165317 by Jafta

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What about radar?
http://www.mcewantechnologies.com/

Regards

Chris A

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Rigby-Jones" <spamBeGonemrjonesspamBeGonespamNORTELNETWORKS.COM>
To: <TakeThisOuTPICLISTEraseMEspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, 07 February, 2002 16:54 PM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: controller


> {Original Message removed}

2002\02\07@170329 by Tony Nixon

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Claudio Tagliola wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> Are you aware that the people of Daimler-Benz are trying this for over
> then 10 years now, with a humongous research budget. I don't know the
> current state, but a few years ago they had a trunk full of SGI silicon,
> worth more then the average Benz. Not the kind of equipment to trash at
> the end of a drive.
>
> May I ask what this project is for? I have a wild imagination, but can't
> put your last remark about the vehicles being trashed...
>
> BTW if you succees to get your car to drive autonomously with a speed of
> 110 Kph, give the guys of Benz a ring. I think they have a job opening.
> :)
>
> Regards,
> Claudio

This is a good representation of what I need, but I don't think Honda
will divulge much.

http://www.path.berkeley.edu/PATH/Publications/Media/FactSheet/CTransition.pdf

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Tony

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2002\02\07@171115 by Eoin Ross

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Unfortunately for those with small runs of product/hobbyists

"Notice: MET does not make end products or production units. MET's sole purpose is to license its technology and to that end we have pre-licensing demo kits available for a 60-day evaluation."

And they want $35,000 if you go ahead with using that technology : (
Looked like a nice way to sense levels with stuff I do as well : (
>>> jaftaEraseMEspam.....ADEPT.CO.ZA 02/07/02 03:24PM >>>
What about radar?
http://www.mcewantechnologies.com/
Regards

Chris A

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2002\02\07@171531 by Tony Nixon

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Josh Koffman wrote:
>
> I think there's a difference though. The car manufacturers want to get a
> lot of cars to drive together on the same road autonomously, with lots
> of safety precautions. Tony needs to get a single car to crash itself
> with no one in it. While I agree his boss probably won't be happy if it
> goes awry and the car doesn't crash in the right place, at least no one
> will be hurt (hopefully). Am I somewhat right Tony?
>
> Josh

The only 'people' in it are crash dummies.

In an earlier version of the system, it monitored radio comms between
the vehicle and my controller. If comms break down, the car shuts down
and stops.

After one particular crash, the car's processor malfunctioned and the
car kept driving off into a paddock, a disused airforce base, and only
stopped because the auto tansmission pan cracked and leaked out the auto
fluid leaving the car stranded with the engine revving faster than a
turbine. Aside from safety issues, it looked funny seeing my bosses
chasing after it :-)

A slight technical hitch, I said. (cough cough)

Needless to say, the hardware/software was hastily upgraded.

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Tony

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2002\02\07@172606 by Tony Nixon

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Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:

> If the system has to be completely self contained within the car, a vision
> system is probably the way to go.  With a high contrast line, a cheap B/W
> CCD camera would likely be adequate.  The processing is way beyond the
> average 8 bit micro though, I would be looking at embedded PC's at this
> stage, but of course cost will be an issue.  If it's ruggedised enough then
> perhaps it could be made re-usable?

This vision project uses a 75MHz Scenix.

http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~cmucam/

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Tony

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2002\02\07@174424 by Dal Wheeler

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----- Original Message -----
From: Tony Nixon <RemoveMETony.Nixonspam_OUTspamKILLspamENG.MONASH.EDU.AU>

> This vision project uses a 75MHz Scenix.
>
> http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~cmucam/

Man, Those videos with the elmo doll are cool!

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2002\02\08@021136 by Jafta

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Ouch... I must have smoked my crispies when I posted... :-/

Chris A

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eoin Ross" <RemoveMEerossTakeThisOuTspamspamCHEMSTATION.COM>
To: <EraseMEPICLISTspamspamspamBeGoneMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, 08 February, 2002 00:09 AM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: controller


Unfortunately for those with small runs of product/hobbyists

"Notice: MET does not make end products or production units. MET's
sole purpose is to license its technology and to that end we have
pre-licensing demo kits available for a 60-day evaluation."

And they want $35,000 if you go ahead with using that technology : (

Looked like a nice way to sense levels with stuff I do as well : (

>>> RemoveMEjaftaKILLspamspamADEPT.CO.ZA 02/07/02 03:24PM >>>
What about radar?
http://www.mcewantechnologies.com/

Regards

Chris A

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2002\02\11@034443 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>
> > If the system has to be completely self contained within the car, a
> vision
> > system is probably the way to go.  With a high contrast line, a cheap
> B/W
> > CCD camera would likely be adequate.  The processing is way beyond the
> > average 8 bit micro though, I would be looking at embedded PC's at this
> > stage, but of course cost will be an issue.  If it's ruggedised enough
> then
> > perhaps it could be made re-usable?
>
> {Original Message removed}

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