Grand PrIEEE

From MAE/ECE 148 - Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles
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 Since 2010, IEEE at UC San Diego has hosted a Grand PrIEEE competition, inspired by the Natcar competition originally created at UC Davis. The project challenges student teams to design, build, and race autonomous vehicles to follow a ~250ft long track of white tape over a wire on a carpet carrying a 100mA RMS @ 75kHz sinusoidal signal. The fastest lap time wins. During this project, students must learn to design analog circuitry for high currents and fine tune control algorithms to optimize track navigation at significant speeds of about 10 ft/s. Skills applied during this project include:

  • Electrical Design
    • PCB layout using EAGLE software or similar
    • H-Bridge motor driver circuit to pull proper current for the brushed DC motor
    • Voltage regulation from NiMh or LiPo battery to provide various voltages to circuits
  • Programming
    • Microcontrollers like the Teensy and Arduino
    • Control an electromechanical system featuring motor, servo, sensors, and other external components (e.g. bluetooth modules)
    • Motor and steering control using PID or geometric modeling
    • Interfacing with linescan camera and implementing filtering algorithms
  • Digital Signal Processing
    • In recent years, every team has started using a linescan camera to detect the white line. Image processing techniques and filtering algorithms are essential for proper detection of the line.
    • Originally, teams opted to use RLC resonance circuits to detect the changing magnetic field due to the current being passed through the wire underneath the line.
  • Mechanical Design
    • 3D modeling using Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks, or similar software to design camera/circuit mounts to place on 1/10 or 1/12 scale vehicles. These designs are realized through 3D printing