Fordham University Robotics Team
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Welcome to Fordham's IGVC Team!
Welcome to the Fordham Robotics Team website. This year's team of 18 students, led by Senior Mathematics Major, Stephen Fox, is preparing for Fordham's second entry in the Intelligent Ground Vehicles Competition (http://www.igvc.org). Oakland University hosts the competition, which will occur from June 3-6 at their campus in Rochester, Michigan.
Interdisciplinary teams comprised of undergraduate and graduate students can compete in up to four categories, all of which we plan to enter this year. Our team consists of 17 undegraduates and 1 graduate student.
The Autonomous Challenge: On a course approximately the size of a football field, the vehicle must be able to navigate an obstacle course with no remote (i.e. no "tele-operated") control. Traps include trash cans, construction barrels, white painted boundary lines (similar to lanes on a highway), sand pits, and ramps. In order to navigate the obstacle course successfully, we model the environment of the robot mathematically based on data from its sensors (sonar, laser, and video camera).
The Design Challenge: Each team attending the IGVC is required to submit a design report detailing the specifications, capabilities, limitations, and design processes involved in the creation and development of the vehicle. In addition to submitting this paper, teams must give a ten minute oral presentation describing the functionality of the robotic system they have created. This year, we will be deploying many exciting innovations in software, including new, 3D visualizations, a new graphical user interface for control, and new algorithms for GPS navigation with our Hemisphere GPS units (see our Sponsors).
The Navigation Challenge: Given only GPS waypoints, the robot is expected to navigate to a series of nine sets of GPS coordinates given at the competition. There are obstacles separating these waypoints, and the starting position is random.
JAUS Compliance: JAUS is the Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems. Roboticists have yet to adopt a universal standard architecture for autonomous vehicles. However, various implementations of JAUS are becoming one of the most common interfaces, particularly in military applications. The IGVC and other similar student competitions strongly recommend designing a platform that is JAUS-compliant. This offers marketability and versatility, making it very easy for our software to interface with other systems and even to be used on other systems. All of our software was initially designed modularly with the JAUS specification in mind.
ALbert got his name from a modification made to this robot: angling his laser toward the ground ahead, rather than mounting its beam parallel to floor. This will enable us to map the terrain ahead of it with its LMS200 SICK laser, while continuing to use it in conjunction with the sonar for obstacle detection.
We are also designing a graphical interface for control and improved testing of the robot. Our GUI will be JAUS compliant, and will be able to interface with other JAUS-compliant robotic subsystems. Additionally, we are designing 3-Dimensional visualizations of the terrain mapped by the robot, which help both in testing and diagnosis, as well as in demonstrating the functionality of our subsystem. Furthermore, we will include the ability to change tasks and algorithms on the subsystem in real time.
Special thanks to Gabriela Hernandez for designing the web page!