Modify the Donkey Car framework and physical car to autonomously deliver personalized mail to multiple different destinations based on number. Ideally, the Donkey Car model will be trained to do autonomous laps while hugging the right side of the road. Upon recognizing a mailbox number using OpenCV computer vision, the car will stop, queue the right package to be delivered, push the package off the side of the vehicle and continue on to the next delivery.
- Must have:
- Deliver personalized mail to or directly in front of all destinations
- Train the car to do laps in autonomous mode and then deliver mail when near a driveway by using its mechanical on board systems
- Nice to have
- Have control over where mail gets delivered to each driveway
- Train the car to hug the right side of the road in autonomous mode
- Andrew Ma, MAE
- Bijan Ardalan, MAE
- Lucas Hwang, ECE
(Insert sexy team photo here)
Acrylic Mounting Plate
We originally angled our camera down 60 degrees from the vertical in order to capture a large image of the ground and track lines. However, in order to capture the numbers for our package delivery on the side of the road, we decreased the angle to 30 degrees to capture more of the horizon.
Mail Delivery Mechanism
Choosing The Motors
We ended up using neon pink construction paper with numbers drawn in black marker for our signs. This design was optimal as the construction paper was matte and did not have any glare when photos were taken with the webcam. We had tried using other materials like folders and we found that the glare off the surface made it hard for OpenCV to properly recognize contours. Additionally, we tried a few different colors of construction paper before settling on pink. The camera has a tendency of adding a blue tint to everything in the picture, so pink stood out the most out of all the colors. Additionally, we 3D printed stands for our signs and used cardboard as a backing so we would be able to freely switch out the color as well as rotate them. (Insert picture of sign here)
To control the servo motors on top of the car, we used a modified version of actuator.py, which can be found in the default DonkeyCar parts file, since we used the same PWM board to control both the steering and throttle servos as well as the mail delivery servos. Once we created the class, it was simply a matter of adding it as a part to manage.py so the DonkeyCar framework recognizes the part.
MyMotor.py takes advantage of the imported Adafruit PCA9685 library for the corresponding PWM board to set the PWM signal. We then adjust the pulse time constant.
Neural Network Training
Number Recognition Methodology
Number Recognition Code
Breaking From Autonomous Mode
Final Implementation In Donkey
Challenges and Solutions
The Final Prototype
Mail Delivery In Action