TiroKart: the Total Immersion Remotely Operated Go-Kart

TiroKart: the Total Immersion Remotely Operated Go-Kart
This is a specification for what I am trying to achieve with this project:

* Off-road and racing go-kart adapted for computer control.
* Ruggedized on-board PC cluster runs the kart control software and interfaces to the steering, throttle and brake actuators along with the cameras and other sensors.
* Sensors on the kart include stereo cameras, rear view cameras, stereo microphones, GPS, lidar (for collision detection) and telemetry for the kart data (speed etc).
* Wireless data link (802.11n) back to the remote PC cluster.
* Completely separate RC-based remote control for emergency shutdown.
* Remote PC cluster runs the driver interface and performs high-level processing of the data from the kart – especially intelligent collision avoidance.
* Driver interface consists of a 3D stereo display integrating the camera streams from the kart and also a presentation of the data from the kart sensors including audio from the on-board microphones.
* Control is either via a joystick or a steering wheel and pedal setup.
* Semi-autonomous mode implements driver aids – track departure prevention, collision avoidance etc.
* Fully autonomous mode utilizes onboard sensors (GPS, lidar, IMU and vision) to navigate a defined track autonomously.
* Rocamo (the Robotic Camera Operator) is a small mobile robot that autonomously tracks the TiroKart while in operation and provides a video stream from the perspective of a chase vehicle.
* The goal is to be able to drive the kart around as though the driver was sitting in the kart (in a perfect world). The icing on the cake would be to be able to drive a racing go-kart around a track faster than it could go with a person on-board (the TiroKart at least has a big weight advantage!) .

Finally, the software, electronic and mechanical technologies developed during the project will be applied to productized robots to solve selected real world problems.

Follow updates to this project via the development blog url.

Project website: 
http://tirokartblog.wordpress.com/

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