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Drones and Robots Come Out to Play at Sparkfun’s 6th Annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition

Sparkfun AVC 2014

Sparkfun Electronics held their 6th annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition last weekend, and this year was bigger than ever before. The action was at Boulder Reservoir in Colorado, but anyone could follow along (with a few technical difficulties) on the YouTube LiveStream. (Part 1), and (Part 2).

The story of the day was Team SHARC’s Troubled Child, which won the ground vehicle doping class. Rather than mess around with miniature cars, Team SHARC built their ‘bot out of a freaking Jeep, a 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer to be exact. Troubled Child had no problem getting around the course. One could say it carried the entire team. Literally – the rest of Team SHARC’s robots are riding along on top of Troubled Child in the picture up there.

There was also plenty of action in the aerial competition. Sir Crash-a-Lot was the first drone to find a watery doom at Boulder Reservoir. The last we saw of it on the stream, the team was looking for some divers.

Aircraft can not be hand launched at the AVC. Not a problem for rotary-winged vehicles, but this rule has led to some interesting solutions for fixed wing aircraft. The disguised “Team Falcon” showed up with an incredible compressed air launcher, which used a gallon water jug to fire their delta-winged plane to a clean run.  Team Karma550 wasn’t quite as lucky, with their helicopter crashing hard, and throwing up quite a bit of smoke.

We’re still waiting for more detailed results, but if you want the full scores, they are available on Sparkfun’s AVC scoreboard page.

Comments

  1. Pixel Pirate says:

    It was a fun day, for sure.

  2. chris says:

    quad flies into the crowd at 1:41 in part one, don’t think anyone was hurt. Was a little unnerving having the big 700 series heli go right after that

    • dfhjdgoirs says:

      Wooooow, that’s just…special. Blades on a quad or helicopter can kill, and yet the audience is riiiiiight up close and there’s no range safety, nothin’.

      Airshows have safety guidelines for a reason.

  3. aegjkop says:

    Sparkf**k. Don’t support hipsters, profiteers, enemies of open source.

    • untrustworthy says:

      They’re much better than Adafruit at least. They actually follow the philosphies they espouse to a large degree, and make it easy to get all the open hardware and code they post.

      Adafruit lies out their teeth saying they’re about being open, but sells oracle and makerbot (they even have their own adafruit branded makerbot).

      • Kelvin Mead says:

        http://www.adafruit.com/products/1292

        Is Adafruit going to continue to sell Stratasys/MakerBot products and use their services? We do not know yet. We’re going to get as much information as soon as possible and make a decision if were going to continue sell products / use services from Stratasys

        Please check out the fully open source LulzBot TAZ 4 – Open source 3D Printer & PrintrBots

        • untrustworthy says:

          They still sell oracle and eaglecad, and just recently added a new makerbot model (check the new products page) so clearly that doesn’t mean much and they’ve already made their decision to keep working with makerbot. They also didn’t saything when makerbot first went closed (before the lawsuit), which again shows their colors.

    • Adam Fabio says:

      Sparkfun and Adafruit have done a lot of good for open source hardware. Do I agree with every decision they make? No. But overall I like and support both of them.

  4. shimniok says:

    Details about our Jeep: http://www.bot-thoughts.com/2014/06/avc-sharc-fsv.html Would be happy to provide more details, pics if anyone finds this an interesting hack.

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