Inspired by John Arne's post, I got a Redcat Rockslide, which is totally cool and a great robotics platform. As you can see, it's really easy to add a mounting platform for electronics (that's APM with GPS and Xbee mounted above) and there's LOADS of room. You could even have it carry a laptop if you wanted. BTW, that's the 1/8 size Redcat shown above, which is $236. I think the 1/10 size Redcat would probably be just as good for most uses, and it's just $159. [Update: the 1:10 isn't big enough. See this comparison]

I've registered the ArduRover name, and am now just looking for the best starting point to modify the APM code for ground rovers. Since James Goppert is part of the APM dev team, we'll probably start with his rover code, which you can see at work here. But if others have code or sensor additions to the basic APM set that would be good to add to a rover, this is the place to discuss and share.

 

Ideally, we'll get this done in time for the Sparkfun AVC contest, on the hope that APM can have a decent chance of placing in all of the categories--ground, plane and quad. Which would be awesome.

 

 

 

 

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Comment by Brad Smith on February 3, 2011 at 9:36am
something like this
Comment by Stefan Barlow on February 3, 2011 at 10:52am

Well count me among the Rockslide 1:8 crawlers, I ordered from Amazon last night.

 

While my town is flat my kids are young so slow is probably better now as they'll want to drive it too. 

 

Also I'm hoping that long wheelbase will be able to tackle my stairs inside the house so I can send it downstairs on autonomous errands :)


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 3, 2011 at 9:14pm

I also ordered the cheaper 1:10 Rockslider to see if it was big enough. It isn't, I think, especially if you want to add other sensors and processor boards. Here's the 1:8 and 1:10 side-by-side, with the APM on my DIY electronics platform for scale (I'm sending the 1:10 back):

 

Comment by Stefan Barlow on February 3, 2011 at 9:30pm
Wow that's a huge difference. Thanks for posting that.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 3, 2011 at 10:42pm
To all on this thread: I've set up a Google Code repository for the ArduRover project. If you want to start submitting code, please PM me with your Google-linked email address and I'll add you to the repository.

http://code.google.com/p/ardurover/
Comment by Garry Qualls on February 4, 2011 at 2:49am
Someone asked what hardware was on that Traxxas Summit in the video on page 9 of this thread.  It had an Ardupilot 1.0, a regular Arduino Duemilanove, an Acroname RxMux, a Sparkfun Logomatic data logger, and an EM-406a GPS.  At one time, I think there was an XBee and a Sparkfun HMC5843 3-axis magnetometer breakout board on it, too.  If you remove the plastic body panel part of the Summit, you have a nice plastic exoskeleton/roll cage that makes it easy to mount things.  It has a turn diameter of about 10 ft, so it was hard to use indoors in a 20' square Vicon area.  The 1/8th scale Redcat Rockslides are more agile, much less complex mechanically, and easily climb up and down most stairs.
Comment by Garry Qualls on February 4, 2011 at 2:56am

One thing

I'd like to mention is that you can have a lot of fun with muuuch cheaper vehicles than the ones that have been discussed so far in this thread.  The summer interns who configured and programmed that Summit in the video started out with a $12.99 truck I bought at Toys R Us.

They had to make the cheap truck accomplish a GPS-related task before they could "graduate" to the more expensive Summit. It turned out to be a little too small and too cheap, once we got some experience with it.  $35 would probably be a better starting point.  By the time we took the yellow body off and taped a 900mAh lipo, Arduino, Adafruit motor shield, GPS, and XBee on it, the tiny truck did not go very fast at all.  There were no bearings on the axles, so they just rub on the plastic where they snap in.  It had left and right steering (cheaper trucks only steer in one direction) but it was not proportional steering.  It was either max left, max right, or straight. 

On the other hand, the 1/5th scale HPI Baja 5B is about $900 and would be a tempting choice for the Sparkfun Challenge.  I have three at work.  They weigh about 20 lbs, though, so if you drive one into your leg or a parked car at 40 mph, you can do some damage.  Maybe after everyone gets the Kinect figured out, we'll be able to have a Sparkfun contest that looks more like this:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cGqFOHico0

 

Comment by John Ryan on February 4, 2011 at 5:01pm

Comment by Brad Smith 1 day ago
awesome john ,,,maybe you could tilt the motor 45 degrees on the arm and put a cone shaped wheel on the other end of the motor shaft then could walk and or drive


Hey thanks Brad,


I'd like to water proof it too so it can swim just under the surface of the water lol,


But for now just getting it off the ground will take some time, and like most people here that time is at the leisure of my wife. So its a very occasional indulgence which I decided to 'put out there' once I realized others might have had similar thoughts.


But one day I'll reappear with a crazy video of it flying and loitering on top of a building, and once thats accomplished, then it'll be a good time for exploring its mod potential so 'watch this space'.


I also like the idea of a Rover with wheels too, and its great to see people here applying their talents to new products. A rover is nice and not too hard, my contraption is "way out there" hard, and I'm still of half a mind that it'll succeed.. but it'll be fun trying, expensive, but fun = )

Comment by Mike on February 4, 2011 at 6:59pm

Another option to ponder over, instead of wheels how about a "tracked" vehicle - check out this youtube video of a homemade fast tracked vehicle


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 8, 2011 at 12:17am
The Sparkfun optical mouse dev board showed up and it looks pretty cool. The software outputs delta x and delta y, which is great.  But it's really designed to work with reflected light from its bright red LED and the lens is optimized for a fixed distance of about 5mm. I think we'd have to make our lens, at least, perhaps the way Geoffrey did, and maybe have a custom lighting source, too.

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