This marks the start of my endeavor to trick out a children’s toy to go fast, drive by itself, and maybe even become self-aware. I have begun to spec out a BOM for motors, speed controllers, steering and drive hardware, and other nonsense that goes into building a tiny car. More information about the competition is at the end of the table.
I’ve had a lot of ideas about how to make this car be human and autonomously controlled without removing or adding any parts, and the goal is to just flip a switch to go from human to autonomous control. I can’t help but fantasize about the style of the whole thing. Should it look like a sports car from the future? Should it be a movie or TV reference? Should it look like a giant toaster? The possibilities are endless.
This is my annoyingly misformatted list of initial constraints and criteria. As you can see, most of them are just rules from the competition, but you have to start somewhere. I’m sure more will come to mind as I continue designing.
|Constraints and Criteria|
|R1||Car dimensions shall be 62″ x 36″ x 72″ while containing driver [1.4]||Stated in the rules||Dimensions are exceeded||Power Wheels Dimensions||N/A|
|R2||Wheels shall have pneumatic tires [1.5]||Stated in the rules||Non-pneumatic tires||Air-filled tires||N/A|
|R3||Wheel base (axel-to-axel length) shall be at least 18″ [1.5]||Stated in the rules||< 18″||Power Wheels Dimension||N/A|
|R4||Wheel track (wheel-to-wheel width) shall be at least 12″ [1.5]||Stated in the rules||< 12″||Power Wheels Dimension||N/A|
|R5||Motor(s) shall be driven with at most 48V [1.7]||Stated in the rules||12V||24V||36V|
|R6||Batteries shall not be LiPO/Li-Ion chemistry [1.8]||Stated in the rules||No batteries||LiFePO||N/A|
|R7||There must exist a throttle-controlled motor controller to transfer power from the batteries to the motor(s) [1.9]||Stated in the rules||No controller||ESC||Microcontroller with ESC|
|R8||A unique number must be visible on the side of the car [1.11]||Stated in the rules||No number||Any Available Number||77 or 0x4D|
|R9||A 6″ x 1.75″ label shall be present for the Moxie Board [1.12]||Stated in the rules||No moxie tag||Generic text||Nice Photoshop logo|
|R10||Front and rear bumpers shall cover 75% of the width of the car [1.13.1]||Stated in the rules||No bumpers||75% coverage||100% coverage|
|R11||Front and rear bumpers shall cover at least 1″ of vertical space 4-6″ from the ground [1.13.1]||Stated in the rules||No bumpers||Aluminum tube bumper||Aluminum curved bar|
|R12||Bumpers shall be covered in an impact absorbing material [1.13.1]||Stated in the rules||No coating||Pool noodle||Rubber coating|
|R13||Bumpers shall not protect wheels of the car from side contact [1.13.1]||Stated in the rules||Wheels not exposed||Wheels exposed||N/A|
|R14||The car shall extend beyond the driver in every direction when viewed from directly above [1.13.2]||Stated in the rules||Any open sides||Enclosed cockpit||N/A|
|R15||The car shall provide front and side protection for the driver’s feet [1.13.3]||Stated in the rules||No protection||Front and side protection||N/A|
|R16||The car shall have mechanical disk brakes capable of a full stop [1.13.4]||Stated in the rules||No brakes||Mechanical disk brakes||Mechanical disk and motor braking|
|R17||Batteries shall be secured so that they remain in position in the event of a tip or roll-over [1.13.4]||Stated in the rules||Batteries not secured||Velcro straps||Metal tie-downs|
|R18||The car shall impliment a kill switch that stops all current flow from batteries to the motors [1.13.6]||Stated in the rules||No kill switch||Kill switch||N/A|
|R19||The kill switch shall be accessible from outside the car [1.13.6]||Stated in the rules||No accessible kill switch||Accessible kill switch||Easily removable and accessible kill switch|
|R20||The kill switch shall be easily identifiable as such [1.13.6]||Stated in the rules||Unobvious kill switch||Red kill switch||N/A|
|R21||The car shall implement a fuse with a value such that the maximum possible power output is 1440W [1.13.7]||Stated in the rules||No fuse||Correct fuse size||N/A|
|R22||The car shall implement front and rear LED lights [1.13.1(2)]||(Optional) Stated in the rules. For illuminated driving at night||No lights||LED head and tail lights||Functioning head, tail, reverse, and indicator lights|
|R23||The car shall be able to drive in reverse [1.13.2(2)]||(Optional) Stated in the rules. For backing out of crashes||Only forward drive||Forward and reverse drive||N/A|
|R24||The car shall implement a horn [1.13.3(2)]||(Optional) Stated in the rules. For fun||No horn||Generic horn||Selectable horn|
|R25||The cost of the car (excluding safety systems and power wheels toy) shall not exceed $500 (batteries are counted for 50% fair market value) [1.14]||Stated in the rules||> $500 chassis||$500 chassis||< $400 chassis|
|R26||The car shall reach a top speed of 20mph||Competitive speed||< 20mph||20mph||25mph|
|R27||The car shall play music||Fun||No music||Music loud enough for driver||Music loud enough for spectators|
Here’s where you can find out more about Power Racing Series(PRS) and also the autonomous portion: A+PRS, which, to the best of my knowledge, is run by SparkFun and only takes place in Boulder, Colorado.
Can’t wait to get this one underway, stay posted for more brainstorming and hopefully tangible progress.