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Autonomous, Line-Tracking Vehicles: A Mechatronics Term Project

[+] Author Affiliations
William R. Murray

California Polytechnic State University

Paper No. IMECE2005-81248, pp. 725-730; 6 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Dynamic Systems and Control, Parts A and B
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4216-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


A six-week term project used in a senior-level mechatronics course at Cal Poly State University is described. In this project, teams of students each design and build an autonomous, line-tracking vehicle to compete in an end-of-quarter competition. The rules for the project are as follows: Design, build and demonstrate a microcontroller-controlled vehicle to race two laps around a closed course delineated by white tape on a black table. On the first lap, the vehicle will encounter two racquetballs positioned randomly on straightaway sections of the track. The vehicle should capture both racquetballs, bring the captured balls back to the starting area, and place the captured balls into a corral situated adjacent to the start/finish line. Each vehicle is scored on elapsed time and reliability, which are weighted equally. Time trials are held in the lab on Tuesday of the tenth and final week of class in the academic quarter. The fraction of teams achieving at least one successful run, that is, corralling both balls after completing two laps, has steadily increased over the six times this project has been used, and has recently been as high as 100 percent. Similarly, the record elapsed times have steadily fallen.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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