The development of autonomous cars is hot topic among professional and general public. And since the autonomous car is special type of a mobile robotic system, Smart Robotic Systems decided to explore this area more in detail. In our last article was presented ROS as main framework, which is used by BMW for development of their autonomous car concepts. We got inspired by Michael Aeberhard presentation at ROSCon 2015 and decided to experiment with our SLAM technology originally developed for SRSbot on real vehicle. After 3 months of intense development, we can proudly announce that we have managed to create a first Slovak vehicle with running ROS inside!
The project’s first goal was implementation and tuning existing SRSbot sensory system to the state in which will be able to map outlying environment and locate within it with some accuracy. This step was necessary prerequisite for further development of autonomous car control algorithms.
Our sensory systems has now two parts:
- Roof sensory rack and front LIDAR
- Control panel
Roof sensory rack disposes with all sensors, which were used on original SRSbot, this includes LIDAR, IMU, stereo camera, and we added GPS module. Roof rack has own insdustrial compute unit B&R APC910, which comunicates with control panel via wifi. Roof rack has own battery pack, which allows the system to power for two hours. In cotrast to SRSbot, roof rack has two LIDAR not only one. The top lidar is used for measure distances from static obstacles like builidngs, trees and road sings. Front LIDAR, located on the front bumper, is used for detection of dynamic obstacles in traffic like cars.
Control panel is situated on the front passenger’s dashboard. It is used as graphic user intarface for whole sensory system. It communicates with roof rack via 5.8Gz wifi network. Control unit is powered from onboard 12V power net.
We present our first experiments with our concept and MapViz in short beta video:
Nowadays, our sensory system is able map and locate itself in outlying environment, detect statical and dynamical obstacles. Our next goal is navigation in underground garage. During the testing sensory system we also tested new ROS tool MapViz, which is helpful tool in the process of autonomous cars development.
Development of autonomous Fabia continues and in SRS, we will try to follow through if time and funds allow.