Preparing for the Sparkfun 2014 AVC ground vehicle competition at Boulder, CO

Hi All,

Andrew Tridgell, Linus Penzlien, and myself are beginning to prepare for the autonomous ground vehicle competition at the Sparkfun 2014 AVC to be held at Boulder, CO on June 21st.

The picture above is that of our Traxxas E-Maxx 1/8 scale 4WD Crusher autonomous rover that is guided by a 3DR APM2.6 and employs a 3DR GPS/Compass module along with a 3DR 915MHz telemetry radio.

The video below will give you an idea of the performance of the Crusher. The rover reached a speed of around 7 m/s in the straightaways and negotiated three chicane waypoints while traversing a 1/8 mile test course. The Crusher can easily reach speeds of ~28 m/s, but I am shooting for good performance in the straightaways and chicanes at 10 m/s.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Views: 1538

Comment by Bill Bonney on March 9, 2014 at 1:02pm

Great work. But now i need to lie down as that camera shake was a bit much ;)

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on March 9, 2014 at 1:08pm


Thanks for the kudos. Ya, you only need to go around once:-) I plan to put a duplicate of the AVC ramp in the rover's path this coming week and see how it performs on the ramp jump. Then I will try a hoop the size of the AVC hoop.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Hugues on March 9, 2014 at 1:17pm

Impressive rover and good guidance. What will be the criteria of this contest? Speed? Precision of guidance? 

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on March 9, 2014 at 1:31pm


Actually, both. The faster you can traverse the course can make up for not jumping the ramp, hitting a barrel in the barrel chicane or not negotiating the hoop which require accurate guidance.

I won the Peloton course last year with a final speed of 3 m/s, jumped the ramp, negotiated the barrel chicane, but missed the hoop.

I hope to run the course between 7 - 10 m/s this year.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Quadzimodo on March 9, 2014 at 2:48pm

TC - Very cool!  I don't really know much about ArduRover at the moment, but I am keen to learn.  I love your E-Maxx. Inspires me to breath new life into an old friend.

Comment by Gary McCray on March 9, 2014 at 3:38pm

Hi Tom,

Thats a really nice and very serious looking looking truck you have there.

And a very clean setup.

A couple of questions, Traxxas doesn't show an 1/8th scale Emax only 1/10th scale.

Although it is interesting they show my Stampede at 1/10th scale too and it is at least 20% smaller than the EMaxx - somebodies fudging somewhere.

Is yours the brushless version?

I'm guessing that really neat aluminum sub-frame came from that giant hobby shop just up the street from where you live, I remember they used to have really nice custom frame bits for RC trucks there.

Really like those 6" tires too.

Would like to know the full build mods and specs for your truck.

Best Regards,


Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on March 9, 2014 at 4:05pm


Thanks for the kudos, much appreciated.

My two Traxxas Slash rovers are 1/10 scale SC truck chassis and the E-Maxx is definitely taller and heavier than they are and seems to me to be closer to 1/8 scale.

Actually the roll cage came from a small shop in Fresno, CA that specializes in quality roll cages. I found them on eBay:-)

Basically I started with less than a E-Maxx roller chassis and used Traxxas' exploded chassis diagrams and parts list to build the rover with parts off of eBay:-).

My chassis uses the Castle Mamba Monster ESC and the accompanying NEU brushless motor. The chassis is pretty much stock as I don't plan to go bashing around on your typical dirt course. Haven't broken anything yet as Traxxas makes quality chassis.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on March 10, 2014 at 4:56am

Thanks Swift, much appreciated.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Linus on March 10, 2014 at 5:37am

Hi Tom,

I hope the software is good for a few medals, looking at your vehicles i have no doubts at all :)

looking forward to see many rovers like on rails and some wild excursions of course :)



Comment by John Leichty on March 10, 2014 at 12:18pm

Tom, very nice setup and video!

I'm also interested in that roll cage -- could you share the name of the company or their eBay name? Thanks!


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