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Autonomous Vehicles. Derek Smith EKU Dept. of Technology Computer Electronic Networking. OUTLINE. Motivation: DARPA Grand Challenge and NAIT Introduction: The purpose of autonomous vehicles and future roles Problem Statement: NAIT’s settings for the new competition

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autonomous vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles

Derek Smith

EKU Dept. of Technology

Computer Electronic Networking

  • Motivation: DARPA Grand Challenge and NAIT
  • Introduction: The purpose of autonomous vehicles and future roles
  • Problem Statement: NAIT’s settings for the new competition
  • Proposed Solutions: Possible answers
  • Results: Video and Explanations
  • Conclusion: New understanding and Learning
  • Future Work: Possible extensions to my work
  • Questions
  • Thanks
  • The DARPA Grand Challenge was a great inspiration to me.
  • Along with a 2 million dollar prize.
  • NAIT played a big role in my motivation as well.

  • The issue with producing an autonomous vehicle is that everything that can, always will go wrong.
  • Argo was a major part of my research.
  • The DARPA Grand Challenge
    • How autonomous vehicles work properly
    • The direction in which they are headed in the near future.
william red whittaker
William “Red” Whittaker

Carnegie Mellon University's William "Red" Whittaker and the Red Team's Sandstorm vehicle

problem statement
  • The National Association of Industrial Technology
    • Added an autonomous component to the annual robotics competition
    • The robot must be able to follow a 1 ½ inch strip of reflective aluminum tape
    • Creating a need for understanding autonomous vehicles
proposed solution
  • To Solve this I went through many possibilities:
    • Calibrating and adjusting the infrared detectors I have.
    • Purchasing close proximately infrared detectors.
    • Creating a light sensitive circuit that reflects light off the tape
    • Creating a circuit sending voltage through the tape and receiving the information
proposed solution1
Proposed Solution
  • My solution was to create the circuit that ran voltage through the tape.
  • Other methods need constant revision
  • The circuit method is simplistic
  • It only deals with one main variable
  • Less things to go wrong
  • It worked, not quit to where I wanted it, but it still works.
  • Problems that resulted:
    • At higher speeds handling has problems.
    • The directional decisions are entirely too slow
    • The bot does all the tasks that are required at this point.

' {$STAMP BS2}

' {$PBASIC 2.5}

DEBUG "Program Running!"

voltdetector1 VAR Bit

voltdetector2 VAR Bit

voltdetector3 VAR Bit

voltdetector4 VAR Bit



voltdetector1 = IN0

voltdetector2 = IN1

voltdetector3 = IN2

voltdetector4 = IN3

IF (voltdetector2 = 0) AND (voltdetector3 = 0) THEN

DEBUG "Moving Forward"

PULSOUT 13, 850

PULSOUT 12, 650

ELSEIF (voltdetector2 = 1) THEN

DEBUG "Front Left is off track"

PULSOUT 13, 850

PULSOUT 12, 850

ELSEIF (voltdetector3 = 1) THEN

DEBUG "Front Right is off track"

PULSOUT 13, 650

PULSOUT 12, 650



  • To the right is my code
  • Below is the main circuit
  • Not yet ready for the DARPA Grand Challenge
    • We have made head way for NAIT next year
    • That is, if my predecessors don’t squander their time and resources.
  • Understanding an autonomous vehicle was the goal of this project
    • I have obtained that goal
    • I’m still in awe of the capabilities out there, but I at least know the basics of how they work.
future work
  • Possible extensions
    • Add vision analyses, nothing big
    • Create infrared mapping
    • And possibly add GPS
  • Any suggestions will be very welcome, email me at

Does anyone have any Questions?

thank you

Thank you for your time

and attention!