DARSU (Disaster Area Remote Survey Unit) is the name of my University 3rd year electronics project, it is (hopefully will be) a robot that will travel around aided by a compass, GPS and various other sensors. The robot will travel from one set of predefined coordinates to the next taking photos and other measurements of the environment, it will then return to base.
The idea behind the project is that after a major disaster, chemical spill, nuclear attack etc… this robot can be sent into the affected area; an area to dangerous for humans and travel to known sites, i.e. schools, hospitals, military buildings or anything else programmed in and take photos, it will then return to base where the photo's can be looked at.
The robot is constructed from a steel and aluminium frame and driven by 2 large DC motors powered by 2 12v batteries; it is controlled by several microcontrollers which are constantly monitoring sensor readings, GPS, compass, proximity, etc…
Below you can see the (almost) finished robot, its just missing the GPS board, display and receiver
The project was a relative success, it navigated reasonably well although the sonar was the biggest problem. The sonar transducers rotates on a servo outputting distance readings to an LCD screen depending on how many obstacles it detects it tells the robot to either go straight on, left or right. The main problem is the speed at which it takes to do a sweep, the sensor takes about 2-3s in which time the environment has changes especially if it is rotating.