Our project involves simulating a robot that is programmed to track a ball and follow its movements using computer vision, and building a physical platform upon which this simulation can be implemented. We will first model this rover in Simulink using the skills we learned in Systems Engineering Lab and Robotics Lab using closed-loop PV and PIV controllers. Variations of these autonomous robots have been built before and exist for purchase online; however, we feel that the process of researching the components in a rover, building the rover, coding the necessary functions, and developing our own computer vision algorithm will be a sizable project and a thorough, hands-on learning experience.
Our original idea was to create a robot that had the ability to both track a ball and had a moveable arm component with the capability of picking up and storing several balls at a time with the end goal of returning the balls to the robot owner or a central bucket site that contains all of the balls. Due to the time constraint for the Capstone project, we decided to simplify the robot and focus on the simulation and computer vision aspect of such an autonomous rover.
In this project we will be utilizing and designing closed-loop control systems in simulation so that our rover will accurately get to a stationary tennis ball. The project will also include some electrical engineering in assembling the components in the robot including a motor, battery, Raspberry Pi, etc. Finally, the programming necessary to control the robot and perform the necessary actions will utilize our knowledge from computer science courses that we have taken.