Project: Introducing Box-T (ArduRover)

3689480366?profile=originalName: Box-T

Function: Patrol Robot

I put Box-T together to keep an eye on my garden. We’ve got a variety of creatures that like the vegetables as much as we do, so when a creature comes into the garden, it’s Box-T’s job to chase them out.

He's not pretty, but I can disassemble and reassemble him in minutes, and I have a lot of options for easy expansion.


The Environment:

As you can see in the picture the garden is a matrix of raised beds.


This picture was taken in the spring so things were just getting started. Next year there will be another row of raised beds to the left, making the garden a 3x4 matrix of raised beds. As you can see there is a lot of forest behind the garden. Many animals reside there. Box-T's job will be to keep the animals from making the garden their lunch.

Platform Configuration: Box-T is 4-wheel drive robot that makes use of differential steering (tanks steering or skid steering) to turn.

System Architecture: The system is based on the APM 2.5 and Ardurover code, but I decided to trim a lot of the things I didn’t need. I didn’t need the IMU and pressure sensors. I could do with out the data logger. I have plans for one, but at the moment, I don’t need an on-board one. I also wanted to use an off-board compass and GPS. I also decided to dump the PPM encoder and go with a hardware PPM Mux.

With these things in mind I decided to go back to basics. I already had an Arduino Mega 2560 that I was playing with so I decided to rebuild my autopilot off of that.

3689480382?profile=originalArduino Mega 2560 with custom shield

To date the system has the following components:

-         Arduino Mega 2560

-         Custom shield with a hardware PPM mux

-         Dimension Engineering Sabertooth 2X12 Motor driver

-         3DR GPS uBlox LEA-6

-         3DR HMC5883L - Triple Axis Magnetometer

-         Airtronics 92824 receiver

-         Two (2) SRF05 sonars


Software Architecture: The software is based on the APMrover 2.20a firmware, but here again, based on the significant modifications I’m making, I've decided to trim up the code and remove the features that I don’t need.

I'll post schematics and code as soon as I have everything tested out.

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  • wow nice design :) how long did it take u to make ?

  • Developer

    COOL!!!!! Please keep us updated

  • Very cool idea! If the animals get acclimated  perhaps adding something like a water gun or decomposable air-soft projectile?

    @Brian: I hesitate to say, but are you going to name your FidoRover K-9?

  • Nifty project. I see lots of planting beds in your photo. That usually means some weeding to do, over and over. I have wondered for some time about building a rover that follows me around (at a respectful distance...) while pulling a greens recycling bucket. And then follow you to wherever you compost (or dump, or send elsewhere). And when the goodies are ripe, carries a tray to hold them on the way to your kitchen. Maybe Box-T could do that some day!

  • @Alex, Most of the animals that i need to get out to the garden are pretty skidish. They run off at the slightest sign of something moving that they don't understand. Crows fly over, they run. The neighbors dog barks, they run. My other neighbor come home in his car, they run. It's a valid point though. I think I can keep then from acclimating to the robot by keeping the patrol schedule random.

    @Chris, the motors are drive units from Zagros robotics at

    @John, BoxT is derived from Box Turtle because that's about as fast as it moves. The frame material is mostly aluminum L-bar. The holes are manually drilled using a jig I had made up.

    @Maxime, There's certainly more to do to weatherize the system. I've been thinking about hacking my garage door opener to allow it to come in for recharging and of course escape any bad weather.

  • 100KM

    Very interesting !!!  Please keep us informed and tell us more !  Marvellous idea/project !

  • That will not be easy to make sensors water proof but unfortunately there are not enough good sensor for rover navigation.

  • Nice Project. As much as I like my flying machines, I think that rover code is very different than aircraft code.  I have had mixed results with the ardurover code and I think that starting over might be a good idea.

    Does box T refer to the frame material?  Have you thought about going the self-balancing (two-wheeled) route?

  • What are you using for motors and gearboxes?

  • Moderator

    Perhaps it could bounce the front end up and down and play lowrider over a speaker (loud). I like this. Please keep posting updates.  I have a neighborhood cat problem and could use a rover Fido on  patrol.

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