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The Mobile Sensing Platform Team presents their final project report for the senior design project to create a mobile sensing platform for Dr. Nickels’ autonomy efforts. The sensing bed, or rover, is designed for mobility in extreme conditions in order to carry a payload of sensors and other equipment capable of collecting data into areas too dangerous for humans. The first step in achieving this goal was to create a prototype with functioning control and motor systems. As such, our design will operate using a control system that will be easily replaced for a more complicated computer.

Our team has been tasked with creating a rover (or mobile sensing platform) with the ability to navigate 30 degree inclines, a step of 25 cm, and a payload of 50 kg, similar to the weight of the sensors that a typical rover might carry. To meet these requirements, the following subsystems were designed: chassis, legs, motor assembly, power distribution, and control system. Recent changes to the composition of the group and several other external setbacks such as the winter storm and COVID-19 restrictions have hindered progress, and thus, production of this prototype has been delayed, with the remaining work to be completed by a future team.

The designed chassis and legs all withstood the required weight of the rover and payload of over 150 kg. The motor assembly was capable of supplying the necessary torque to ascend the hill, but struggled in dynamic tests under changing speeds and directions. While the power distribution system was delayed, the topology for the motor control was designed. Lastly the control system, which included the wireless controller, was manufactured and assembled, but never fully tested with the power distribution.

Overall, the mobile sensing platform team successfully identified the necessary design specifications to complete the prototype, but was unfortunately unable to finish manufacturing all of these designed subsystems. We learned so much over the course of this project, and while we wish we had been able to complete the rover as designed, we are proud of what we accomplished given the changing circumstances. The final project report to follow will detail the completed design of the rover and the design solutions engineered to meet our project requirements.


Team Advisor: Dr. Keith Bartels

ENGR 4382