May 30, 2011

Senior Project Reflection

So now I have finished my multiple-month journey of: beginning brilliant battles, triumphing tricky trials, conquering computer crashes, solving slightly serious situations, and writing wonderful weblogs. I am herein required to disclose my most innermost thoughts about this ordeal/experience. My first reaction:  "That was awesome!" It's like coming off a roller-coaster, and wanting to get right back on. To answer my last question first: I would most certainly do this project again. I don't plan on modifying my current car any more, mainly because of the problems I've had with the steering. But some time in the future I will go and find another object to automate. And I will learn from my mistakes. My first mistake is simply choosing my body in haste. I grabbed the first RC car I could find, without doing any research into how it might compare to other cars. This resulted in me choosing a car that moves too fast and doesn't have the best steering mechanism. The ideal car would have four motors, one for each wheel, allowing me to fine-tune how it turns. That would solve all of my steering issues. I certainly plan to stick with the Arduino platform - it was exceptionally easy to learn and worked with all of the different components I picked out. I would change my sensing system, though. I'll have to do more research first. It might benefit me to spend a little more cash to get a higher-end IR sensor, that shoots multiple beams out. That is the sort found on university or corporate autonomous cars. This project has resulted in my learning quite a bit about how autonomous cars should work, and providing plenty of insight on what to do when they don't.