31 Jul Students Create Driverless Vehicles
Year 10 Technology students have been learning to design, build and program robots with some of the features of driverless cars. They have also created a road in the shape of a figure of eight to test their vehicles.
The robots use sonars to measure the distance to the vehicle in front and are programmed to adjust their speed to avoid collisions. They can also use the sonar to look sideways and be programmed to obey simple road rules such as giving way to the right. And if there is an obstacle on the road they can be programmed to go around it before continuing on their journey.
At the heart of the system is an Arduino microcontroller which manages all the sensors, motors and the decision making. Students design and write the software which manages the entire system. They also design and build the electronic circuits which link the sensors and motors to the microcontroller.
This challenge is great for showing students how real life projects integrate skills from a range of different subject areas in order to achieve their goals.
Although a real driverless car has to solve a large number of much more complex problems than this, this project has helped the students to understand just how challenging it is to design and build complex devices that can perform reliably under a range of different operating conditions.
by Harold Russ, Head of Robotics
Feature photo shows an autonomous caravan designed and built by Kaley Rawlinson and Oliver Rowley