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Old Jan 15, 2013, 07:32 PM
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Joined Nov 2009
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third to quarter scale electric vehicle for research

I will be designing and/or configuring a vehicle for a research lab I'm involved in to have a small Darwin-OP humanoid robot (~18 inches tall) drive it for research purposes. I was wondering if anyone could make any recommendations. 60 inches / 18 inches ~ 3.3:1 scale.

Some details:
  • Darwin be inside the cockpit i.e. it look like a vehicle, and not just have the robot sitting on top of some platform
  • Control be either (A) steering wheel, gas, brake, or (B) two single axis joysticks. Treads, wheels, or any drive method are plausible.
  • For indoor use, so probably must be electric
  • Not high speed. If max speed is several mph, that is fine. Should be able to move slowly precisely though. This does not necessarily rule our your typical "high speed" RC cars.
  • ~$1000 budget, complete system, would prefer to come in far under, but this number is not rigid if the market dictates so
  • I have access to lab equipment, machine shop, other resources you would find on a college campus
  • Darwin will only use his onboard sensors to drive and not interface with the vehicle in any way besides mechanically.
  • I would rather not have to scratchbuild a robot from scratch, but if anyone has recommendations for just the cockpit or upper half, that would still be helpful.
  • My adviser advocated any vehicles where Darwin is standing, such as scale construction vehicles, fork lifts, etc.

At the core of this project, freshmen will use this platform for their design class to hopefully bring them onboard to our full scale humanoid. It should just function and look like a vehicle, not some contrived robot you would never see in real life.

Current status:
On the oversize end, I have seen cars for kids, which are a little too big for Darwin. Besides that, everything I've come across is far too small, especially considering Darwin preferably needs to be inside the cockpit.

Thanks, and any advise would be greatly appreciated,
-Josh
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