CSE 480 - Senior Design Project
EE 491 - Senior Design
ME 492 - Senior Mechanical Engineering Design Project
ME 493 - Senior Manufacturing Engineering Design Project

January 28, 2004

Design Project Description
Design a programmable mobile robot/vehicle kit that would be affordable for students to purchase, up to but no more than $150 maximum cost. It should be useful in a Sophomore Design course, that is, for a design course where students would have taken only the first required course in your major. As an application of this kit, we will design and demonstrate vehicles that follow a line of electrical tape placed on a tile floor.

Design components by major:

ME majors:
The structure of the vehicle should have minimum weight with adequate strength to support a payload of up to 15 pounds. It should be easy to assemble into a variety of forms with no machining necessary other than what can be done using common household tools, such as hand saws and power drills; think in terms of snap-fit joints, LEGOs, etc. It should have maximum maneuverability, a drive system compatible with a wide variety of control systems, minimum friction and capable of handling a wide range of speeds and torques.

EE/CE/CS majors:
A variety of low-cost sensors with both digital and analog output, which are easy to interface to a computer, should be included in the kit. Sensors that can read a strip of electrical tape against a tile floor are easy to find and are relatively inexpensive. All electrical components must be designed to be assembled with common electrical tools used in EE 222.

For a controller, a low-cost (~$80) OOPic microcontroller might be considered. The EE and CE/CS senior design groups in Fall 2003 used this OOPic this term. While it has limited memory and capability, it is relatively easy to program in a version of BASIC that takes advantage of a number of useful built-in object-oriented functions for doing things like driving a motor with a PWM signal, reading sensors, or controlling a servo. You are NOT required to use this device, it is merely a suggestion for someplace to start. However, controllers that can be programmed in Visual Basic, the language of CSE 141, will receive high consideration when assigning grades.

Discussion for the final written reports
For your final written reports, in addition to your technical discussions, you are to discuss applications of the technology that you are exploring and developing in this project. The most obvious application is for automated highways, but this technology could also be used for delivering parts in a manufacturing shop, developing way-finding robots for large complexes such as hospitals, etc. For your final report, discuss various applications of the technology, with specific emphasis on:

On April 15, 2004 a competition will be held for all of the design groups. Vehicles will be run autonomously around a closed-circuit course up to 300 feet (100 m) long, with several right and left turns, with no turn less than 2 feet (0.6 m) in radius. Winners will be determined by the minimum time to traverse the course. Obstacles will be placed near, but no closer than 6 inches (0.15 m) to, the course line; touching an obstacle will add 5 seconds to the vehicle's time. Vehicles that fail to complete the course will have 10 seconds added for every foot (0.3 m) they stopped short of a complete circuit. Teams may attempt up to 3 runs; the shortest adjusted time will be used to determine the competition standings.


Does the vehicle have to carry 15 pounds?
Yes! We will load each vehicle with a 15-lb weight and expect the vehicle to negotiate a portion of the competition track while carrying it. The vehicles do NOT have to carry this weight during the competition. You must provide a flat platform about 4" in diameter or 4" square for the payload. You must carry the payload on the vehicle itself; trailers are not permitted.

What do you mean by "vehicle"?
We have carefully said "vehicle" and not "car." Your vehicle does not have to look like a car, it doesn't have to have 4 wheels, it doesn't have to have wheels at all. All it must do is follow a tape line on the floor for 300 feet.

Do we have to use the OOPic controller?
We are not recommending the OOPic as a controller, or any other controller for that matter. These are decisions you get to make as designers. The mention of the OOPic was only based on what other groups have used in the past.

How is the cost accounted?
Remember that you are designing a KIT for a future Sophomore Design course, with the ability to assemble a vehicle to follow a tape line as only one of the functions of the kit. The kit must provide other functionality that you must account for and discuss, but need not demonstrate. In terms of costs and discounts, all of the components of the kit are to be priced in lots of 100, no more or less. If you have something specially manufactured as a sub-component, you must obtain a quote for that component for lots of 100. The $150 limit is for the Sophomore Design kit in lots of 100 and is not necessarily a limit on what you might have to spend in this course.

Do we have to worry about other vehicles on the track?
No. There will be only one vehicle on the track at a time.

What sort of things are the "obstacles"?
For obstacles we will be using small cones, similar to the ones used for soccer practice.

What happens if the total cost of the kit goes over $150?
This is not an option. Your kit will NOT cost out over $150.

Exactly what sort of tape will be used?
The official tape will be 3M Temflex 1755 friction tape. This is a cloth electrical friction tape. It can be found at Home Depot (HD #844-347) in the electrical supplies section. It is black, 3/4" wide and a 60-foot roll costs $1.97. Please note that this stock number and product description do not show up on the Home Depot website. This tape was available in large quantities at the Home Depot store in Livonia, MI on 1/28/04. Use other brands or kinds of tape to test your vehicles and sensors at your own risk.

Can we modify the vehicle between competition runs?
Can we modify the vehicle after the 15-lb payload test and the competition runs?