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!

 

 

Autonomous cruise control systems

Autonomous cruise control systems, why 4-H, next in the TC Tinkers business operations manual, parade floats, keep track, get RSS of this blog.

April 06, 2010


Take a look at this diagram of Autonomous Cruise control...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_Cruise_Control

AUTONOMOUS CRUISE CONTROL SYSTEMS

When one of my team members asked a car dealership about what vehicles have adaptive cruise control on them, he turned to his computer and printed out a page from Wikipedia on the subject of Autonomous Cruise Control Systems.  This is a combination of search terms that was new to me and it yielded 21 makes and models going back to 1997.  This is important to my team when looking in the auto salvage yards for systems we might use or learn from.

WHY 4-H?

The TC Tinkers, a 4-H technology club, is a great way educate the next generation in how to design and build robot vehicles needed for agriculture, defense, and to save lives on US roads.  It offers me a chance to learn some of the techniques used in helping talented people do their best work in robotics.  

NEXT IN THE TC TINKERS BUSINESS OPERATIONS MANUAL

Today the 4-H logo products and HexBots arrived.  Linda, Josh, and I checked them in using the picture catalog to identify the items and put their stock number on them.  We used the rule of passing the products over a physical line after they have been counted.  Doing this is something you will want to do in the business you start on the side.  Strict control over the checking in process creates great confidence in the numbers checked in.  When compared then to the packing list you can determine any overage or shortage and claim them with great certainty.  Your accuracy will be tested by your suppliers.  They will intentionally add things or leave things out to see what your accuracy in checking is.  They will also test your count by accident.  Some times the first part of the next persons order is inadvertently added to the last box of your order.

Today I also took the club’s charter to the bank so that they can add copies of it to assure the bank auditors that the club’s account is indeed a business account.   I also dropped of a copy of the club’s bank statement at the 4-H office so they could see the details of our account.

 Also at the county 4-H office I signed for loan letter for the “seed money” that the 4-H offers to clubs that are starting a business.  In this case we are creating a retail store and will be selling at Tractor Supply in Chum’s Corners April 10 & 17, 2010 from 11 am to 2 pm then again at the Northwestern Michigan Fair Aug 7 throu 14, 2010 (hours of operation have yet to be determined).  With two major selling events it looks like we will be able to pay back the loan Sept. 1, 2010.    This is a no interest loan and when paid back can be borrowed again.   Some 4-H companies in the past have become quite large and profitable.   This one is intended to be an education in learning how to start up a business.

One line of products sold will be from Altered Iron.  on consignment.  The Members need to discover what consignment is and how it works.  For that or any other common business term they don’t understand they can turn to the Operations Manual.

PARADE FLOATS

While we are looking for a wagon to make into a parade float,  Linda is sewing a 36″x36″ 4-H clover logo, out of foam and fabric to be a walking Mascot in the parades the kids are thinking of entering.  The Michigan Festival Map is just covered with festivals of one kind or another during the year.  Most have parades we can walk in or drag our hay wagon float in, and flea markets where we can set up our traveling 10′ x 10′ retail store.   Sales tax is collected on the things we sell and turned over the the county 4-H office for them to pass on quarterly to Michigan State University.  The 4-H in Michigan operates as a subsidiary of MSU.  If it turns out well, other clubs may want to sew one, or buy one from TC Tinkers, or Rent it.   The latest suggestion on how to find a hay wagon is to go onto freecycle.org and post our need.

While 4-H and whatever parade we sign up to be in will cover the insurance liability of operating a parade float, there is also event insurance that the club can buy for $1 per event.   When dealing with the public you want to have good insurance coverage and have every angle covered. 

KEEP TRACK

Keep track of TC Tinkers 4-H Robot Club developments by joining their Yahoo Newsgroup at: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/TC_TINKERS_4-H_Robot_Club/join


To subscribe to AIMing for Automated Vehicles as a RSS feed: If you are using Internet Explorer to read this page, go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/CTL-AimingForAutomatedVehicles  and add it to your “Favorites” by clicking the little gold star with a green plus sign in your tool bar, then click on “subscribe to this feed…”. To view the feed in the future you go to “Favorites” by clicking on the little gold star and AIMing for Automated Vehicles should be listed there. Click on it and catch up on what is new!

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 49686-8411
(231) 883-4463 Cell
pgrayson(at)aimagic.org
AIM: http://aimagic.org/
TC Tinkers 4-H Robot Club: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/TC_TINKERS_4-H_Robot_Club
CE Magazine: http://www.controleng.com/blog/1180000318.html

Posted by Paul F. Grayson on April 6, 2010