The LURC (the Long-Range UCC Reconnaissance Car) is planned to be a remote control car with all the bells and whistles. Picture a standard remote control car. Now, throw out the radionics and replace it with a decent computer, controlled over the internet. Then add a webcam with pan and tilt, so the remote driver can see where he/she is going. Then add GPS. Then add solar power boosting. Then add battery level feedback to the remote driver. Top all this off with a whiz-bang steering wheel and driving pedals on a desktop, and you have yourself UWA's coolest car.

Creation date: November 2009

Location of source:

Project leader

Bob Adamson is the leader and finance for this project.

List of people involved

Lyndon 'Frames' White is doing the AVR code and serial interface.
John Hodge has volunteered to write some fancy code for the web interface, and has threatened to put his acess kernel on the router :S.
Other people such as Rufus Garton-Smith and Adrian Chadd have been conscripted into helping with the webcam and the 3g dongle respectively (thanks guys!).

Project plan

What is done

  • Assemble cells into a 7.2V battery pack

  • A significant amount of waiting for parts to arrive :S
  • Set up bifferboard with debian (openWRT isn't great for our needs)
  • Get serial commands sent from a computer to control the servos
  • Chassis - we have wheels, suspension, motor (the car can drive in a straight line now)
  • Webcam connected and (sortof) working
  • 3G dongle working (./) works using usb_modeswitch and wvdial

  • Dynamic DNS (./) works using ddclient

  • Rewire car to allow charging without resetting the bifferboard. It turns out that this is quite trivial and the charger has no problem with it. Just don't drive the car on a stand while it's charging, this will cause the charger to drop out.

What is being done

  • Serial interface on the AVR (over-all 90%)
    • set up framework/datastucture for storing and retrieving received commands (./)

    • framework for execution of commands, (./)

    • implement vast array of all required commands (90% done)
      • SETPWM (SETPOS) (./) - testing ongoing

      • MODIFY PWM (MOD) (not done)
      • WRITEPORT (./)

      • READPORT (not done)
      • LCD (not done)
      • ADC (not done)
    • Implement serial communication (./)

    • extended testing
    • Return Error codes over Serial (Not Done)- Every function will return an error code, functions that request informationm will reurn a number 1 or more bytes, then the error code
  • Setting up the bifferboard for webcam, serial control, etc.

What needs doing next

  • Test AVR serial code for robustness and completeness
  • Optimise webcam to make video smoother
  • Reduce memory usage to free up more ram and make video streaming faster

Frame's Plans

(this is a striaght copy from IRC which frames is goign to edit into a nice todo list when he can be bothered. he will also fix the spelling.

   1 23:44 <frames> and then after that i nned to redo gen1 to gen 1.5, ad some sort   of semi pseudo GUI, to show hwat;s been recieved and what has been transmitted
   2 23:45 <frames> anyway, that's my plans for the short term of the project.
   3 23:46 <frames> oh, and i need to set it up to take the #defiens from the make file as a parameter
   4 23:47 <frames> then it's back to adding more functions to the AVR - readPort, and finishing of some more LURC commands, and maybe gettign RESET working
   5 23:47 <frames> and then onwards to gen2, the excitement of running things on a desktop computer
   6 23:50 <frames> zanchey suggested that as a communtication method, i just run ssh.exe (well it's not actually called that but you ket the poiint - the client software for ssh) inside my program and  then pipe to and from it, seems liek a good ifdea to me. heh i could set up gen1.5 to outut all revieved values  to stderr, then i might be able to display them sepertalty 
   7 00:04 <frames> oh., last thing: My suggested policy of what code goes on the bifferboard, what one hte avr, and what one hte desktop - anything that requires knowledge of the hardware one the Car goes on the AVR, this mean that we have secondairy functionso like Turn, webcamPamn webcam tilt- so that none has to know the range of valeus accepted for a particualr servo's PWM. setPOS etc will still be there, but new cleaner functions likeFOrward will be avaialble as well
   8 18:24 <frames> so i'm decommisioning string2Num.cpp and it's .h and replacing with str2Value.c
   9 18:25 <frames> the new str2value will be ale to do all the smae htigns that string2Num could do (with numbers) but will be more effiecent and will be able to deal with COMMANDS eg CMD_FORWARD
  10 18:25 <frames> and it will have deliminators for ascii
  11 18:26 <frames> and it will have deliminator escape charactors
  12 18:26 <frames> and it will handle errors much better (Ie it will handle errors at all rather than throwing a message anf ternimating or just crashing  and burning)
  13 18:27 <frames> this is all going on the wiki, i'm too tired to make it neat i'll sort that out in the future too
  14 18:27 <frames> tommorrow i'm taking alot of the day off. 

Parts and Pieces

Parts we have got

  • Brushless motor, 3800 Kv

  • Servos x 3. These are smaller than what was expected at about 1x2x3cm, but should be strong enough
    • The servos have a full 180 degree range, using PWM values from 0.4ms to 2.4ms with a 20ms period. Using values outside these ranges kills kittens. For the hex values that define these values, see /Trimming.

  • C size rechargeable cells, 6x3300mah NiMH
  • AVR atmega169 butterfly board
  • Solar panel
  • A Bifferboard. This will be used to connect to the outside world, the webcam, and the AVR Butterfly.

  • Wheels and tyres, 2.2" hubs to suit a 3/16" axle - f*** these were expensive -- BobAdamson

  • USB power adapter for the bifferboard (for testing)
  • Webcam, which should be sufficient to display a 640x480 image

  • BEC and ESC, this one

  • FT232 converter (MAX232 works, but need a usb adapter for the bifferboard-gps connection anyway)
  • 4 port usb hub for the bifferboard - this will allow us to have a usb stick, a webcam, and gps connected all at the same time.
  • A buggy kit, with wheels. chassis, motor, steering assembly. (We now have extra parts!)
  • Ni-MH battery charger
  • USB to serial adapter (sparkfun, 3v version)
  • Webcam mount
  • Huawei E122 USB dongle (unlocked) with 6GB quota. This is one of the annoying ones, it appears as a cd drive when first plugged in, and requires mode switching

Parts still to get or make

  • Motor pod/mount (if we choose to put existing motor into the buggy kits)
  • serial GPS module
  • 5v buck/boost dc convertor

Other info

Some programs we are probably going to need

  • openWRT (is evil) Debian

  • wvdial (a command line dial-in PPP utility)
  • MJPG-streamer (stream webcam using various output plugins)
  • AVRstudio 4
  • WinAVR (wich has the AVR-GCC C compiler)
  • br@y's Terminal, one of the best GUI COM terminal programs.
  • pyserial