Sorry for the late post about VEX Worlds, I thought I would have more time after worlds to catch up with stuff, sadly (well not really), the kids have been mega active. My eldest son played his first football tournament, had a holiday, lots of family stuff!
So, VEX Worlds, what an amazing experience, I went along for the VEX EDR side of the competition (this year it was split EDR / IQ) as I was showing off the EDR Tank. Sadly I had to leave the US early as my son, Max was ill. Still a very cool experience!
So, the EDR tank, well it performed really really well in remote control mode. I mean the thing was fairly slow but must have covered MILES! The batteries never died on me, nor did any motors! I did kill a few Omniwheels, however, that’s to be expected. Even though I left early, the EDR tank did not and so others drove it around. I have not received it back yet to see how bad it is now, but I am sure it will be fine.
The autonomous side was a bit of a failure, to be honest, and looking back I had set up myself to fail and I will explain why. The autonomous side was using ROS (Robotic operating system) which is an industry standard. I was using a Neato Lidar system which is awesome however it only had a range of 5 meters and SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) to work out where I was, and where I needed to go via building up a map. SLAM works by detecting features of the surrounding area to work out where it is. When you’re in a hall that’s hundreds of meters wide with very little features, a sensor with a range of 5 meters is practically useless. In the end, I just showed kids how it worked on my laptop using RVIZ. If I had to do this properly I would need to invest in a proper LIDAR system with a much greater range. Another aspect which makes this very hard is all the people moving around, how can SLAM pick up features if they are constantly moving!
Overall, the EDR tank was hugely popular, I gave tons of fist bumps, high fives, etc, people just thought it was cool, just a little slow.
Next year, if I did a vehicle again, I would have to make it a lot faster and forget about advance sensors etc!
Here are some videos of VEX World and the EDR TANK: