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A vision-guided autonomous vehicle: an alternative micromouse competition

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1 Author(s)
Ning Chen ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., California State Univ., Fullerton, CA, USA

A persistent problem facing today's engineering educators is how to promote students' interest in science and engineering. One of the best approaches to this challenge is to sponsor a technological competition that combines publicity, technology, and student participation. A current leading competition called “micromouse”, although earning high marks on publicity and technology, has had difficulty attracting large-scale student participation. In this paper a vision-guided autonomous vehicle project developed at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) is proposed as an alternative. The idea is to fit an ordinary radio-controlled toy car with a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and a transmitter. Image processing and control of the car are accomplished by a personal computer (PC). The road image captured by the camera is transmitted to a PC via a transmitter-receiver pair at 900 MHz. A frame grabber board digitizes the image, and an image-processing program subsequently analyzes the road condition and generates adequate drive commands that are transmitted back to the vehicle via the built-in radio controller. Student teams write programs to compete in racing or maze solving. In this paper detailed hardware and software designs of the project are presented. The merit of the project with respect to the criteria of publicity, technology, and student participation is also addressed

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 4 )