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 John Arne Birkeland on January 29, 2011 at 3:17pm
T.D.: Construction wise a rock crawler is ALOT more complex then a airplane or quad. Frame suspension, oil filled shock absorbers, motor system with gearing, steering front and back wheels etc.
Comment by T.D. Gonzales on January 29, 2011 at 3:24pm
John: Yea that makes sense. Part of my mind is still applying full sized planes vs cars. The ground navigation is a big problem. Look up Darpa's great race.
Comment by John Hutchinson on January 29, 2011 at 3:47pm
Planes would be as cheap as chips if they made them in the same volumes as cars. And if the consequences of breakdowns weren't so serious!

Comment by Randy on January 29, 2011 at 7:06pm

Great.  I love that newest video.


We can reuse the arduCopter's Rangefinder library for interfacing with Sonar or more likely the Sharp IR sensors.


With a different lens, I think a mouse sensor could be used for a very accurate ground speed and position (ideally mixed with a GPS but perhaps not 100% required).



Comment by Ron Jacobs on January 29, 2011 at 7:43pm
Ok crazy thought, but think about the Mars Rovers and the fact they have lasted  a bazillion times their expected life/mission time. More complex, but possible design? 6 wheels I think and solar power for long term duration. See above re a bazillion times...! they don't don't travel fast and take time to pre-compute travel path and waypoints, we could do that.
Comment by diego colonnello on January 29, 2011 at 8:00pm

Chris, please, i beg you, stop the good ideas coming, i´m still learning to get the most out of my Ardupilot, just got my APM and you keep giving me  more and more things to think of. by the way, allready ordered some motors to make an arducopter........

You guys should write in little letters in the home page "Warning: getting an ardupilot can be adictive, DIYdrones takes no liability for your time spent creating, crashing, and making great things!!!"


Hummmmm, tomorrow gonna order my redcat..... ArduRover.... interesting...

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 29, 2011 at 9:16pm
The key part will be adding a laptop running a Kinect, which will interface with APM for obstacle avoidance. Much better than ultrasonic sensors and cheaper than lidar.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 29, 2011 at 10:49pm
I just started driving it around. It's very strong but not fast by any stretch of the imagination. Anybody know how to speed this bad boy up? Higher voltage battery pack?

Comment by Brian Wolfe on January 29, 2011 at 11:01pm
Hey Chris,
I don't have this exact beast, but one similar. I put a beefier motor on to speed it up and found the gear box couldn't hold up to the load and I stripped several gears before switching back to stock.
There are games to be played by changing the gear on the motor but don't expect too much. Maybe a 10 or 20% trade between speed and torque.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 29, 2011 at 11:25pm
Thanks, Brian--that's helpful. The stock battery is a 7.4v NiMh. What do you think about me putting a 11.1v LiPo on instead?


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