Autonomous Lawn Mower Competition

Posted 3 Jun 2004 at 16:29 UTC by steve Share This

We just found out that the Institute of Navigation will be holding their first annual Autonomous Lawn Mower Competition on June 4th and 5th in Dayton, Ohio. With the competition just hours away, it's probably too late to get an entry together but you can still check the action at this year's event if you're in the area. In addition to looking for the faster autonomous lawn mower, robots will be judged on their construction cost and projected manufacturing costs of a production model.

The future of engineering!, posted 3 Jun 2004 at 23:43 UTC by WhoPhlungPoo » (Journeyer)

I might be reading more into this article than was intended, however, it would appear that companies are following in the footsteps of DARPA, instead of wasting bazillions of dollars on R&D to end up with something that may or may not do as intended; lets hold a competition! And for a fraction of the cost we get the best of the best, as only the winner actually becomes a product. I would like to see more of these types of competitions, competitions with a purpose. They only thing I didn't like about the lawnmower competition, if I read it correctly, only college students are competing. If they keep this up, I'll have to go sine up for woodshop or something at the local university so I can be involved in theses types of activities.

Roomba hack, posted 4 Jun 2004 at 01:13 UTC by aplumb » (Journeyer)

Hmmm... I wonder how many people will take the easy approach and hack a Roomba.?.

That's a lot of modifying, posted 4 Jun 2004 at 13:27 UTC by earlwb » (Master)

Modifying a Roomba is a good idea, but that is a lot of modifying. First the IR sensors won't work outdoors, so you have to change them for something else. Then you need more powerful motors to run bigger wheels for outdoor use. Then you have to change out the vaccum motor for a grass cutting motor with blades. Of course you need different bump sensors too. It would, sort of, be taking a Roomba and putting it on top of a new lawn mower chassis, and wiring it up accordingly.

Bright idea, posted 4 Jun 2004 at 16:45 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

Dude just get a CO2 laser put on your goggles and have a servo sweep it across the lawn. Dude like your grass is done. Would you like rare, medium or well? Really, though, there's got to be a fast cheap solution to cutting your grass besides roomba hack or irobot bouncing around your yard for eternity until every last blade of grass gets cut. Surely robots can be smarter than that and track their progress. I guess the hard part is micro-gps or homegrown positioning system to help the robot know where to go next. Adding GPS makes it not cheap anymore but that's what's got to be done. Perhaps an AC low voltage wire zigzagged for a path and buried about the yard for the robot to follow would let it just be a simple line follower. How about genetically engineered grass that cuts itself. Or nanites that stroll through your yard constantly eating the tops off of grass.

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