We had a great time at the Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition this year. We raced in 3 heats, and we had about 2 hours in between heats to modify the Gizmo Robo and its code to try to do better in every heat. When we got there in the morning, we realized we couldn’t see the chain-link fence very well with our ultrasonic sensors. We also couldn’t see the feet that were holding up the fence. They were below our ultrasonic sensors. One other thing we had to fix was that we would occasionally get stuck underneath the fence. We also were having issues with noise on the sensors (we think). The compass module and the GPS were mounted near the motors, and potentially giving us false readings.
Our first race went pretty well for our first time. We got around the first corner, but then got stuck on the fence. Our second run went better, but amounted to the same amount of points. We got around the first corner and made it a ways down the second stretch before we got stuck on the fence again. Before the third race, we implemented a fair number of code changes and sped up the Gizmo Robo a bit in the hopes that we could deal with the speed and the new code. Unfortunately, I think we made too many untested changes and we got stuck before we made it past the first corner.
All-in-all it was a great first time at the Sparkfun AVC and we’ll definitely be back next year!