PDA

View Full Version : Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (AKA - ROBOTS!)


Jack Jones
06-19-2005, 07:07 AM
ATTENTION PRESENT AND FUTURE COLLEGE STUDENTS: (Earn college credits & win cash prizes!!!)

Last weekend I officiated at the 13th Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (http://www.igvc.org/deploy/), which was held in northern Michigan at the Grand Traverse Resort. I was somewhat surprised that I didn’t see a bunch of former FIRST students. In fact, with 32 college teams represented, I only met one student who had any FIRST experience.

Maybe it is that the competition isn’t well known or not promoted. Or, maybe it is that the FIRSTers see “ground vehicle” and don’t associate it with robots – but that’s what they are, ROBOTS.

Whatever the reason, it’s really a shame. Not only could FIRST alums apply what they’ve learned toward some special project college credits, they would, I predict, raise the level of the competition, which would raise the level of awareness and support for FIRST among the participating colleges and sponsors.

If any of you are interested in forming or joining a team, you should be able to find all you need to know on the web site. Here’s a brief description:

COMPETITION (2006 competition next June)
AUTONOMOUS CHALLENGE
Use GPS and sensors to visit eight waypoints on football field sized area in shortest amount of time.
NAVIGATION CHALLENGE
Use sensors (video, LADAR, SONAR) to navigate 500-foot long course on grass, simulated pavement, and simulated sand with obstacles placed between the lines.
VEHICLE DESIGN
A written report on your design is mandatory and is presented and judged during the competition.

Greg Needel
06-19-2005, 10:09 AM
this sounds much like a mini DARPA grand challenge. What size are the vehicles that are entered?

Jack Jones
06-19-2005, 10:29 AM
this sounds much like a mini DARPA grand challenge. What size are the vehicles that are entered?

Minimum length is 3'. Max space claim (as I recall) is 9' long x 5' wide x 6' high. I don't think there's a weight limit; the ones this year went from about 100 to 300 pounds.

Jizvonius
06-19-2005, 11:15 AM
I would also have to vouch for this competition. We have an IGVC Team at Georgia Tech, but most former FIRST participants default to our FIRST team. Not that it is a bad thing, but on some level, I would like to see more former FIRSTers expand their robotics experience.

I know that our IGVC team is just starting to expand it's capabilities thanks to some of the experience that was brought in from FIRST. As a current FIRST participant, I can say that it is a good experience to work with non-FIRST components once in a while. And the vision/navigation systems are really cool. We may actually adapt some of them for our FIRST team.

Jevawn Roberts

akshar
06-20-2005, 09:41 AM
Hmmm...sounds interesting, do you know if there is a Boston University team? and how much help a pre-med major/FIRSTer could be for a IGVC team?

Joe Johnson
06-20-2005, 10:33 AM
Dean, Woodie and the Game Design Committee should take note.

These teams has there robots for MONTHS. They had GPS and VISION Systems. They had many times the computing power onboard their robots. The teams were made up of tech savy college kids and their profs.

YET... ...surprisingly few were successful at the task of autonomous navigation (perhaps 30% if you are generous in the grading scheme) and they didn't have to actually DO anything (like pick up a tetra and place it successfully on top of a goal).

Autonomous Mode is HARD!

I will just suggest the following question: Does Autonomous Mode get us closer to the goals of FIRST or would the time and resources devoted to AM be better spent elsewhere?

I know where I come down on this issue.

Joe J.

John Wanninger
06-20-2005, 01:10 PM
...surprisingly few were successful at the task of autonomous navigation (perhaps 30% if you are generous in the grading scheme) and they didn't have to actually DO anything (like pick up a tetra and place it successfully on top of a goal).

Autonomous Mode is HARD!

I will just suggest the following question: Does Autonomous Mode get us closer to the goals of FIRST or would the time and resources devoted to AM be better spent elsewhere? ...
While I've haven't (yet) been part of a FRC team, I've coached many teams who have done autonomous modes in another tiny division of FIRST ;) . The chance for them to make jaws drop in disbelief is in part what fuels them to put in the hundreds of hours to make it happen. In fact, one such team (whom I'm incredibly proud of) did this to the tune of three perfect runs in Atlanta in 2004. I wouldn't have believed they could do it - but they did. Now I could be wrong, but I have to believe they inspired others (they certainly inspired me!), raising the bar for 2005.

dhitchco
06-20-2005, 02:05 PM
Being a team in FIRST
IS NOT ABOUT THE ROBOT...........

If you expanded the six-week build season, you put too much emphasis on the robot itself

If you put too much emphasis on autonomous mode, you put too much emphasis on the robot itself

If you put too much money into a corporate sponsorship, you put too much emphasis on the robot itself

That's what makes FIRST so much fun.....and challenging. This is NOT the DARPA Grand Challenge.....we're better than simple robot builders. But, go check out www.gumstix.com for these really cool Linux single-board computers that are being used for all kinds of robots.

"Hey now....you're al all-star......get your game on......"

John Wanninger
06-20-2005, 04:57 PM
Being a team in FIRST
IS NOT ABOUT THE ROBOT...........

I'm only arguing that Autonomous Mode be preserved. I believe A.M. gives a chance to those who may not be the performers, those maybe not as quick on their feet, to shine (not that there aren't other roles for this). It is a slightly different problem to solve; it's more like a dare, and I think for every team that finds this to be a thorn, there is another that finds it irresistable. I also think it's an especially important way for teams that aren't yet competitive to gain recognition.

You're very correct- It is the team, not the robot (although most teams find it very rewarding to build one) (In FLL, robot performance is worth only about 25%, probably similar in FRC?) However, regardless of scores, the group problem solving required for autonomous operation can be a great team and confidence builder. The process of making jaw dropping robots, explaining designs and techniques to judges (along with doing research and making presentations) gives students the confidence to put on workshops, do robotics conference presentations and spend hours talking with NASA scientists, community and industry leaders and their peers in FIRST. This year, the "perfect score" team struggled at the competition table, yet I couldn't be prouder of who they've grown to become.

And when these students have an FRC team, I'm sure they (and others with FLL experience) will find comfort in having an Autonomous Mode!
(steps off soapbox)