My first line follower

During Apogee 2013, my sidee, Arjun, and I decided to participate in Track-o-Mania, an event which involved line following, with a twist.
The bot which we had in mind was a line follower which involved the following:
A PID Line following algorithm: PID stands for Proportional Integral Derivative. A very nice explanation of how PID can be used to rapidly reach a steady value is given here, and how one on how PID can be implemented in robotics is given here.
ADC: Analog to Digital conversion, we used ADC to calibrate the IR sensors of the bot in our code rather than manually adjusting potentiometers at the venue.

We didn’t know how to get the PID constants automatically using the auto tune library, nor did we know exactly how to use the Zeiglor-Nicols method.

The bot primarily comprised of motors, wheels, an L293D motor driver, an acrylic chassis, and an IR emitter-detector array which consists of 5 emitter-detector pairs.

For the second round, we had planned to put 2 IR emitter-detector pairs on either side of the bot to detect the soldiers and terrorists at different heights, an IR emitter-detector pair in front to detect a wall, a motor with a platform on which to keep the first aid kit which would rotate to drop the kit, and a few LEDs on which to keep a count of soldiers and terrorists. However, we were not able to implement these as the bot decided to trouble us with a loose contact, and we had to remove a soldered motor driver (an error that took us a massive amount of to figure out!) and plonk a bread board there instead.

Strangely enough, not a single participant had prepared for the second round! Our bot was very fast compared to the others as we had used PID, but sadly, the track had bumps in it (as opposed to a smooth track promised in the rules), and our motors didn’t have a high enough torque to deal with this…

But it was a brilliant learning experience, and it is this event that motivated me to join Robocon even more.


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