Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's actually alive!

Over a year ago, I posted about my RoboMagellan robot, and then nothing. It's been pretty busy for the past year, but I finally got back to working on this robot. The control board is now mostly functional, and I have integrated the IMU and GPS. I still have to get the tilting laser assembly mounted and working, and come up with a permanent mount for the camera, but earlier today I finally field tested the robot:

Drives well in grass, on pavement, and even has enough gusto to get up onto concrete parking lot wheel stops (although it tends to then get stuck on top of said stop). The forward odometry is good, but I still need to tune the turning odometry.

As far as ROS integration goes, I have the IMU, GPS, and wheels tied into ROS. For decoding the GPS I'm using the nmea_navsat_driver package, which made things quite easy. I'm currently working on some tools for handling localization and visualization while in a GPS coordinate frame (more to come on that, but it is developed on top of geodesy). Code for the project is pretty minimal right now, but is hosted at