Let's Make Robots!

Sputnik - IR / Unltrasonic autonomous vehicle

Navigates around in it's environment and records weather conditions


So I've trying now for a few weeks to have my rock crawler, named Sputnik, be autonomous. The goal is that it should be able to avoide any objects on its path, and while looking around, it should record data on a SD card such as Temperature, Humidity, Light Intensity, Atmosphere Pressure (more to come).

Second is that it can overrided to be manually operated with xbee and a logitech joystick, directly from my mackbook.

Done so far

The structure is finaly finished, it took me a long time to finish the Rock Crawler mainly because of having the wrong tools and not enough time. Once the structure was finished I moved on to the electrical componants and programming part of it. I am completly new to Arduino, so I spend lots of time looking around on the web on what could be done and how.

The structure is finished, the crawler is done, and a plexiglass body is fixed on top, housing all my elelctronics. I will publish pictures later.



     From Tower Hobbies

  • DuraTrax Sprint Electronic Speed Control $29.99 (esc for brushless motor)
  • Venom Fireball Rock Crawler Motor 5 $19.99 (brushless motor)
  • Venom Creeper Competition Rock Crawler Kit Anodized Red $143.99 (body structure)
  • Venom NiMH 6-Cell 7.2V 3000mAh Stick Universal Plug $20.99 (battery for the motor and steering servo)
  • Associated S1903MG Servo w/Metal Gears $17.99

    From Adafruit

  • Adafruit Data logging shield for Arduino (v1.0) [ID:243] = $19.50
  • Medium 6V 2W Solar panel (2.0 Watt) [ID:200] = $25.00
  • Lithium Ion Polymer Battery - 3.7v 1300mAh[ID:258] = $12.00
  • TMP36 - Analog Temperature sensor (TMP36) [ID:165] = $4.00
  • Photo cell (CdS photoresistor)[ID:161] = $1.00
  • 2x XBee Module - Series 01 (XB24-AWI-001) [ID:128] = $46.00
  • USB FTDI TTL-232 cable (TTL-232R 3.3V) [ID:70] = $20.00

   Total : $366.45 lots of these componants can be found around depending on your project

Inspiriation and Links

Pictures... so far...

Fooling around with Fritzing (http://fritzing.org/)

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Cool project, looking forward to watching the progress.

Looking good so far. Will all the electronics up top make it top heavy?

It might be worth adding a cheap 3-axis accelerometer to your robot so it will know how steep an angle it is climbing.

Thanx, the pictures are a bit outdated, i am now concentrating on the robot more than on the articles... But i will keept it updated... I was looking at your work and i am impressed! Amazing what you did ! I especially like the fire fighting vehicule !

I might even go a little further and add not only a 3-axis accelerometer but i will also put a compass and a gps module... (http://letsmakerobots.com/node/18922)

I noticed the Solar was less Volts and watts than the battery.  Do you have a sensor that runs it on solar by passing the battery when the panels have voltage?  Is the ultimate goal to charge the vehicle whenever possible? 

Great form to work with.  Looks like it can climb anything and might not have to go around very much.




Hey Shonlh, I have noticed the same with solar, and that is why for now, i am not using it. I still didn't figure out how to switch from one battery (low) to another (high) and recharge the low one with solar.

I am still working on a solution for this. For now, the only thing running on solar rechargeable battery are the leds, that are not the "vital" part of this project... but looks cool...

If you want to use this robot out side you might want to think about switching to a ping sensor, Infa red can be tought in bright sunlight, they are cheap on ebay

Ossipee thanx for the advice, that is why i'm using the utltrasonic sensor and a light intensity sensor. When there is too much light, the sonar is used or IR... i will post the code soon, so you can have a look

"The goal is that it should be able to avoide any objects on its path"


Ironically a rock crawler is supposed to climb OVER anything in its path :P


Keep it up, wanna see this working :D

Amando96 ... i see what you mean... but as a weather station, i didn't want it getting stuck all the time by a little branch or something, so it could have a large enough body to collect the required data...

The ultrasonic sensor and IR are placed high enough so it would be able to climb a few rocks instead of avoiding them... I hope that i'll put soon a video...

the 70s/80s.

If you can't Dodge it, Ram it.

The comment was related to Dodge Ram pickup trucks. :)