GPS Software Glitch Resolved, But Now Drive Batteries Are Dead

Aluminator’s previously-reliable GPS system acted up early this morning and wasn’t getting the proper response, so Kevin, Ken and Mike had to go six programming levels deep to debug device drivers. They had a hunch a serial-to-USB adapter might be corrupting a program so they switched it out and things improved,
then they had to determine why the program would run fine on one laptop but not on the identical laptop that actually helps run the machine. Eventually they got it all working and went out to practice. Everything was going fine until the batteries croaked. It’ll take about an hour to charge the batteries and finally qualify, then it’s straight to the autonomous challenge. Stay tuned.
IGVC has been running autonomous course heats all morning, but after four hours of “racing”, only two teams made it as far as the halfway point on the field. At the wide points of the figure-eight track there are switchbacks made up of construction barrels. That may be too kind a description because those obstacles are more like hairpin turns. VERY tight turns. Each robot must also provide cargo space for a 20-LB wooden box, craftily marked “payload”, to prove the machines can perform a function besides just tooling around on the lawn.
Some teams make it a third of the way around the course, some barely make it 10 feet. Many robots are bare-bones systems, one as simple as duct-taping a desk-top CPU to the simplest of platforms, while others are very creative.
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Pixar’s WALL-E is here today, complete with debris from the movie set, and another team seems to have chromed up a Weber BBQ grill as its body work. The “Weber-Bot” has a unique vertical camera that uses a mirror to see 360 degrees, and developed a software program to correct spacial distortion.
WALL-E is just plain cute.