AIMing for Automated Vehicles

Paul F. Grayson, AIMing for Automated Vehicles blog, Control Engineering

The U.S. armed forces have had smart weapons for a long time now. It is just recently that they realized they need smart supply trucks. Hi, I am Paul F. Grayson, Team Leader of American Industrial Magic (AIM), one of last remaining teams of the 390 teams that worked on vehicles for the DARPA Grand Challenge series of unmanned vehicle races. AIM is working to save soldiers lives by searching for ways to make driverless Army supply trucks affordable. AIM is funded by donations from individuals like you who want to speed up the fielding of this life-saving technology. With this blog, you can look over my shoulder while I and my team work on  this important technology. You will get a chance to look into the world of unmanned robotic vehicles, see some of the things that I see, and puzzle over the challenges of making vehicles driverless. Welcome to my world!

 

 

Automated guided vehicles - answers; Alyssa is Robot Club president

Here are some questions from a reader, Sara Torres, about automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and my answers; do you agree? Alyssa Hartman is the 4-H Robot Club president; she's majoring in...

November 15, 2010


Alyssa Hartman working on the robot truck, new 4-H Robot Club presidentHere are some questions from a reader, Sara Torres, about automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and my answers.  Let me know what your answers to these questions would be, and we will compare the results. Below, see more about the new Robot Club president, Alyssa Hartman (photo, right).

Q1.  What are some issues, challenges, or problems that the Autonomous Vehicle/Automated Transit sector is facing?

A. Component prices are still high in comparison to where they need to be. Production in automotive quantities will help somewhat, but also redesign of the sensors and processors to be more economical in design is essential and has not happened to the degree necessary, yet.

Q2.  What are some techniques and technologies coming out in the field that you believe are of great importance?

A.  Improvements in passive machine vision should reduce or eliminate the need for active lasers and reduce cost substantially (eliminating the $75,000 component).

Q3. What projects/research are you most excited about in regards to Autonomous Vehicles and Automated Transit?

A.  Driverless automobiles and driverless supply trucks.

Q4. Are there any people/organizations in particular that you believe are researching new and exciting things in the field?

A.  The Japanese car companies have substantial investment in this technology but are keeping it a closely guarded secret.  It would be interesting to know where they are at the moment.

Q5. Where do you see Autonomous Vehicle Technology in 5-10 years?

A.  In that time frame it may become required, like seat belts are now.  You will need to get an antique vehicle permit to operate a vehicle without AutoDrive.  Some cities are already considering driver exclusion zones in their most congested parts of downtown to go into effect when this technology is available.  Only AutoDrive vehicles will be allowed in the heart of the city because they can drop their rider off and leave the area to wait rather than search for a parking spot.  Much of a city's congestion is caused by parking and the number of trips around the block it takes to find a parking spot. Some fuel experts believe that 20% of the fuel used is wasted circling because the driver is lost or looking for parking.  Twenty percent of a billion dollars a day spent on fuel is a substantial amount of money.

Leave a comment about these AGV questions or my answers below - click the link if you don't see the comment area.

Engineering for tomorrow, 4-H robotic club president, Alyssa

Alyssa Hartman (age 18-see photo, above) has been elected president of the TC Tinkers 4-H Robot Club for the 2010-2011 4-H year. She is majoring in Engineering at Northwestern Michigan College and is hoping to specialize in Biomedical Engineering.

She is leading the technology-based club as the National Headquarters for 4-H starts their yearlong push to get the youth of American interested in Robotics.

4-H Robotics siteThe campaign began earlier in the year with a poster campaign aimed at encouraging 1,000,000 young people to become scientists and engineers. 

In the past few weeks, the fun looking new 4-H website featuring their improved robotics-training course and materials has become active. Have you had a chance to take a look? What do you think?

www.4-h.org/resource-library/curriculum/4-h-robotics/

Leave a comment about 4-H Robotics site, or some engineering advice for aspiring 4-H students of robotics - click the link if you don't see the comment area.

See prior AIMing for Automated Vehicle blog posts.

GO ROBOTS !

Paul F. Grayson - Chief Engineer, AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL MAGIC, LLC

"Small engine and machinery repair" TC TINKERS 4-H ROBOT CLUB

"Science, Engineering, and Technology" 390 4-Mile Rd. S., Traverse City, MI 49685

pgrayson(at)aimagic.org AIM: aimagic.org

TC Tinkers 4-H Robot Club: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/TC_TINKERS_4-H_Robot_Club/

Control Engineering blogs www.controleng.com/blogs

Free 4-H club news letter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TC_TINKERS_4-H_Robot_Club/join