Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

The Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, built for the SAUC-E Challenge, is a fantastic example of UAV construction. The competition is to build a UAV that can complete an underwater assault course. This baby has a full computer inside it, based off of the worlds smallest full featured x86 motherboard, the Pico-Itx.  It has a 1GHz EPIA PX 1000 Board, 1 GB of RAM, Wireless Network capabilities and runs Ubuntu server 8.04.

The CUAV suffered from leaks which ultimately cost it the competition, but the information on the build is fantastic. They have detailed pages upon pages of information about the Mechanical, Electronic, and Software aspects of the design.  They even went back in and added notes from what they learned during the competition.  The project is also outlined in much shorter form on the mini-itx website.

[thanks Vesaines]

Inexpensive powerful router based robot

[Andrey Mikhalchuk] Has posted some great instructions on how to build an inexpensive router based robot. Starting with a Linksys WRT54GL, he takes us through the process of disassembling and modifying it to directly control servos.  He has put together a custom version of OpenWRT Linux that you can download from his site.  After testing to make sure everything is functional, he goes through a quick and dirty chassis build.  As you can see from the picture above, there are lot of household items thrown in there such as rubber bands and zip ties.  After adding a camera mounted on two servos for x y movement, he fine tunes it and lets it go.

This project looks fairly simple, cheap, and fun.  It may look familiar as it is very similar to our Wifi Robot post from August.

[thanks Matt]

“Killer Zombie Drone” is awesome and recycled

Usually, when someone mentions military drones, we think of something much smaller and less intimidating than this monster. This is an Airforce Phantom II, retrofitted to be a computer controlled killing machine. Able to carry 18,000 pounds of stuff that goes boom, a single computer can control up to 6 of these in formation.

Sounds scary doesn’t it?  Actually, though these are capable of being offensive, they are mainly used for target practice. These are decommissioned units that have been fixed up and modified to be radio controlled.

[via BotJunkie]

Underwater ROV

[SpaceShipOne] has built this very nice looking under water ROV.  It is still a work in progress, but nearly complete.  This ROV is a fairly simple construction. most of the body parts are held together using zip ties.  There’s no microcontroller and no custom boards.  He’s using a radio control transceiver that was intended for airplanes to control some standard speed controllers and servos.  For thrust, he pulled the motors out of some bilge pumps and fitted them with propellers.  He’s only tested it once, but promises videos from the lake soon.  He mentions [Jason Rollette] several times since [Jason] has done both simple and complex designs in the past.

Wifi Robot : a hacked WRT54GL rover

hacked wrt54gl on radio controlled truck
[Jon Bennett] sent us this link to his Wifi Robot. After playing with a Linksys WRT54GL router, he was inspired to build something that would utilize this embedded Linux system. Using a thrift store R/C truck, he built a wireless robot rover. This thing can be controlled over the internet, or by laptop with a range of about 500 meters.

The router has been modified to have 2 Serial ports and a 1GB SD Card. It connects to a micro controller, which could be an Arduino or AVR Butterfly. He has supplied information for both. The truck has been mostly gutted, leaving only the chassis and electronics. He had to beef up some of the truck electronics when they fried under the load. The entire unit is powered by a pair of 7.2 Volt 3800 mAh battery packs. The most important thing on the list though, is the horn. You can honk the horn while you are driving this thing around.

The site supplies tons of information including pictures of his build, videos of it in action, speed tests, schematics, software downloads, and resource links. Great job [Jon].

British bots compete for attention

The British military held a competition to find the newest batch of robotic surveillance drones. The article mentions that they compete in a mockup village, but sadly we don’t get to see any of the action. We strongly recommend watching the video so you can see some of the robots. There is an interesting helicopter concept that has angled props for better stability and lateral motion, but more importantly you get to see the little guy pictured above. He very well could be Wall-E’s great grandfather. Though his constant buzzing around during the interviews is slightly annoying, his little camera mount looking all around is instantly endearing. If he doesn’t win this contest, he may have a shot at the [crabfu] challenge.

[via Engadget]