DIY rover with independent 4-wheel electric drive

An impressive project from Hackaday:

The picture above looks like a standard four-wheel drive (4WD) touring car. As one looks closer, a few strange things start to pop out. Where’s the motor? 4 electronic speed controls? What’s going on here? [HammerFET] has created this independent drive R/C car (YouTube link) as a research platform for his control system. The car started off life as a standard Schumacher Mi5 1/10th scale Touring Car. [HammerFET] removed the entire drive system. The motor, differentials, belt drive, and ESC all made for quite a pile of discarded hardware.

He replaced the drive system with 4 Turnigy brushless outrunner motors, installed at the chassis center line. To fit everything together, he had to 3D print new drive cups from stainless steel. The Mi5′s CVD drive shafts had to be cut down, and new carbon fiber suspension towers had to be designed and cut.

The real magic lies in [HammerFET's] custom control board. He’s using an STM32F4 ARM processor and an InvenSense  MPU-6050 IMU which drone pilots have come to know and love. Hall effect sensors mounted above each motor keep track of the wheel speed, much like an ABS ring on a full-scale car.

[HammerFET's] software is created with MATLAB and SimuLink. He uses SimuLink’s embedded coder plugin to export his model to C, which runs directly on his board. Expensive software packages for sure, but they do make testing control algorithms much simpler. [HammerFET's] code is available on Github.

Since everything is controlled by software, changing the car’s drive system is as simple as tweaking a few values in the code. Front and rear power offset is easily changed. Going from a locked spool to an open differential is as simple as changing a value from 0 to 1. Pushing the differential value past 1 literally overdrives the differential. In a turn, the outer wheel will be driven faster than it would be on a mechanical differential, while the inner wheel is slowed down. Fans of drifting will love this setting!

[HammerFET] is still working on his software, he hopes to implement electronic torque vectoring. Interested? Check out the conversation over on his Reddit thread.

Views: 1534

Comment by Jack Crossfire on July 12, 2014 at 11:47pm

All that money for a carbon fiber body, professional PCB fabrication, stock motors & ESC's definitely saves a lot of time.


Developer
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on July 13, 2014 at 5:32am

A project close to my heart.  Torque vectoring would be very cool.


Admin
Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on July 13, 2014 at 5:58am

@Chris,

An interesting use of concepts and technology used in full size electrically powered automobiles.

Unfortunately the cost of this R/C size chassis puts it outside the range of the average hobbyist and is obviously for experimentation only.

Also, the ROAR (Remotely Operated Auto Racers) Association prohibits the use of electronic stabilization controls during R/C car racing so this uniquely powered chassis would have to be run at events that allow electronic stabilization such as the Sparkfun AVC or non-ROAR sanctioned events.

However an analysis of the AVC scoring indicates that either a standard 2WD or 4WD R/C chassis has sufficient speed and cornering ability to win an AVC Class if it can run at around 10m/s, is much less complex, and easier to maintain.

Regards,

TCIII ArduRover2 Developer  

Comment by Gary McCray on July 13, 2014 at 11:39am

Great concept, design and execution, too bad no traction control,allowed in ROAR.

Maybe they need a new class (the augmented class?).

In any case, it does clearly illustrate that an independent direct drive brushless motor per wheel is both feasible and practical.

Ferdinand Porsche would certainly approve.

And if you take into account Jack Crossfires rewound hybrid dual mode stepper/brushless motors it looks like this application has a lot of interesting potential.

Comment by Daniel Lukonis on July 14, 2014 at 4:22pm
You my friend are a genious! That is awesome.

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