Over the past week we have been doing a lot of work to get the electronics ready to go inside the robot. We have wrapped up testing all of our custom embedded systems and have started cabling all of them together. While our top plate is out being anodized we created a template out of wood. This has allowed us to begin laying out components and creating wire harnesses. This allows us to test many of our systems together and will minimize the time required to get the robot up and running once the chassis is complete. We received our waterproof USB 3.0 and Ethernet connectors from our sponsor Molex this week so we have begun integrating them as well.
Our treads and pulleys have also arrived from BRECOflex. We would like to thank them for their sponsorship and are excited to start driving around.
Now that the exterior parts of the chassis are out for anodization and powder coating we have moved on to machining the the rest of the chassis components, including the drive shafting as shown below. This week we also received the bearings for our drive shafts from our sponsor Action Bearing.
Over the past couple weeks we have also begun development of the supervised autonomy component of the WALRUS Rover. This has involved developing algorithms that will allows us to easily detect stairs and assist the operator in climbing them. For example, below is a rendering of the model fitted to a set of stairs (shown in purple and cyan) overlayed on top of the raw point cloud data from a Kinect v2 that the model was extracted from.
Over the next week we will begin to assemble the chassis and continue to work on autonomous stair detection and climbing.
– Team WALRUS