Another big thing we achieved this week was sensor characterization! Our advisor made us realize that we really should better understand where our sensors were taking measurements before we began collecting data. So, to better understand our sensors, we decided to tape out all our sensor reading locations on the ground!
So, the vehicle has 2 SICK LMS-291 LIDARs and a Point Grey Research Firefly Firewire camera on the front of the vehicle. All three sensors are meant to help the vehicle figure out what terrain it is driving over and whether there are obstacles in the path of the vehicle. We wanted to find out where the scanning planes of the two LIDARs contacted the ground and whether the view of the camera included the locations where the LIDAR scanning planes contacted the ground. So, we parked the vehicle in the middle of a stretch of roadway and started taping out the boundaries.
In all three pictures, you can see two horizontal lines and a trapezoid. The trapezoid represents the boundaries of the camera image. In addition, because the LIDARs are mounted such that each LIDAR is tilted at a slightly different angle, each horizontal line represents the line along with one of the LIDARs scanning planes contacts the ground. Turns out, one of the LIDARs is contacting the ground about 15ft from the front tires and the other is contacting the ground at about 21 feet from the front tires. Moreover, both LIDAR scanning planes are well within the view of the camera. For us, this means the sensors are almost perfectly positioned! So, we're essentially good to go on data collection!
That's it! More to come in the coming weeks as we continue to make progress!
Gator Research Blog
Welcome to the Gator Research Blog for the Fall 2015 semester! The aim of this research will be to develop the software to allow a John Deere Gator to navigate a mini-baja-type course autonomously. Follow our progress here!