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Robotics team car drives all by itself Print E-mail
Article Index
Robotics team car drives all by itself
Page 2

Jeffrey Elkus

In 551 Baldwin Hall, the University of Cincinnati robotics team is preparing its Bearcat Cub and DARPA (Defense Advance Research Projects Agency) Jeep for competition. The robots are being tested and developed for the 15th annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle competition June 8-11 in Rochester, Mich.

The Bearcat Cub is the smaller of the two vehicles and is built out of industrialized erector sets.

The vehicle communicates with two personal computers attached to it with a router. In addition, there is a communications port, which is commonly used to plug in a computer monitor, to connect different hardware devices to help operate the Cub. USB ports are also used to hook up additional equipment.

The DARPA Jeep is a hybrid vehicle that runs on DC (direct current) Power and gasoline power. The team's nickname for the vehicle is the "duct-Jeep," because of all the duct tape used to build it.

"This is a real-life problem and we get to solve problems which haven't ever been solved," said Saurabh Sarkar, one of the co-robot leaders and a graduate engineering student.

The Robotics team was started 15 years ago after a student approached Ernie Hall, mechanical industrial and nuclear engineering professor and robot team faculty adviser, with a brochure advertising a $10,000 contest. The first robot was an EZ-GO golf cart donated to the team.

The robots continue to become sleeker and more technologically advanced and now the contests have a $2 million prize, according to Hall.

The Robotics team's DARPA Jeep is housed in High Bay in Baldwin hall.

Media Credit: Dan Burns
The Robotics team's DARPA Jeep is housed in High Bay in Baldwin hall.



The robotics team is organized by specific jobs needed to complete the robot projects. The co-robot leaders are graduate students Scott Reynolds and Saurabh Sarkar. They are both in charge of software development and organizing the entire team of 25 members. There are mechanical and electrical leaders who provide specialty help along the way.

"It is multidisciplinary in that sense where we have a whole bunch of engineers in different disciplines who contribute in different ways and they all range from freshmen to graduate students," Reynolds said.

Both the Cub and the DARPA Jeep vehicles are operated without human interference, but the jeep is geared toward obeying stop signs, traffic lights and parallel parking in an urban environment.


 
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