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EETE APRIL 2013

and safely record the full distance of the track. That way, various sensor data from optical camera sensors, IR LED and sensors under the chassis, possibly eCompass data or even accelerometer output could be correlated to the vehicle’s travelled distance on the track. “If you look carefully, some of the cars have their rear wheels marked like encoders, this could be used not only for Few of the race robots made it to the finish. speed control, but also as a tachometer”, observed Roberto Oboe, Associate Professor in the Department of Management and Engineering at the University of Padova, and supporting the “Crash Team” from Padova. If the data acquisition is done right, the second run can be performed much faster, taking some shortcuts in the signal processing. “In fact, a lot has to be done in signal processing to filter vibration noise or simply to choose which sensors should be taken into consideration during particular sections of the track”, continued Oboe. “Sometimes, you may want to stop relying on a particular sensor whose data is no longer meaningful. Say when climbing over a hilly section, an inclinometer could tell the car to discard the camera signal because it can no longer see the centre line, and switch to other data, say IR sensors closer to the centre line for example.” Oboe explained to me that the varying levels of brightness in the hall (due to passing clouds but also because parts of the track where slightly greyish instead of white, and this altered reflectance), also needed to be compensated for, either by varying the output of the front headlights, or by performing additional signal filtering operations. Relatively few robot cars made it to the finish. Some just came short of power, stalling in front of a bump, or simply went off-road, accelerating frantically into white space. The “FEI-Minetors” team of the Slovak Technical University of Bratislava, Slovakia, won the competition, finishing just ahead of team “Wheel eXtreme” from Wroclaw University of Technology from Poland, and team “Crash Team” from Universita di Padova from Italy. Enrollments for the 2013- 14 season will start in May and the 2014 EMEA Freescale Cup final is scheduled for April 1-2, 2014, to be hosted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen, Germany. The “FEI-Minetors” team’s robot during its winning run (top), and a close-up of the winner. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe April 2013 39


EETE APRIL 2013
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