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July 2024

January 2, 2012

Outdoor Robot gets (somewhat) smarter

Filed under: Robots,Software — Bob @ 6:36 pm

My Outdoor Robot project got some attention recently, now utilizing the ultrasonic sensors at the front to avoid obstacles. I’m still running it very slowly, so I can learn from watching it without having to run to catch it. I’ve implemented a subsumption architecture in the software that has a few simple behaviors:

  1. Startup: waits for a button press, and only allows for one minute runtime.
  2. Avoidance: using the front-facing ultrasonic sensors, turn away from obstacles. The turn is proportional to the distance to the obstacle.
  3. Cruising: run straight ahead at the maximum (slow, at this point) speed.

In the videos below you can see this happening. There really isn’t a lot of “smarts” to the software, although it looks pretty good while running. Next up is to get the “remote stop” working then I’ll increase the speed. I also need to work on behaviors for when the robot gets itself into a corner e.g. backup and turn around.

Enjoy these videos for now!


  1. Looking good, Bob! It’s so cool to see this robot develop. I can’t wait for the next update… however, have you considered a cliffhanger? Maybe a video where it approaches a hazard and we need to wait until the next installment to see if it makes it? 🙂

    Comment by Jay — January 3, 2012 @ 7:38 am
  2. […] These pictures show the final result of my 3D printing experience. Its a bracket to hold four Parallax Ping))) ultrasonic sensors. This replaces the original three-sensor mount that I fabricated myself from Delrin and Sintra parts, using my Sherline mill. You can see that in the videos in this post. […]

    Pingback by random scribblings»Blog Archive » First experience with 3D printing — January 3, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

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