Instructables

Mobile Earth Rover One - 3.5G Exploration

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Picture of Mobile Earth Rover One - 3.5G Exploration
If you can’t explore the Moon or Mars … you can always explore your neighborhood!

The main goal of this project is to alter a remote controlled vehicle and control it via
Internet Telerobotics using the Mobile Telephone Network (WWAN - Wireless Wide
Area Network) 3.5G or 4G (Long Term Evolution) and as an alternative you can always
use WiFi networks.

For this challenge it is necessary to make some modifications to a remote-control
car, adapting and equipping it with the necessary software and hardware in order to
achieve the objectives stated above.
 
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Step 1: Earth Exploration Videos

Picture of Earth Exploration Videos
This first video shows th 3D Sketch of the Mobile Earth Rover.


Now form 3D to the real word, this second video shows some parts of the building
stage and some initial test runs using the 3.5G network. The vehicle is equipped
with a boom camera arm that allows 1st and 3rd person viewing, the camera also
preforms pan and tilt movements.    
                           

This last video shows a test run in various places, where the maximum distance
from the control room to the vehicle exceeds 1 Kilometer :

                          

The vehicle has the capability of driving for 5 continues hours and In theory you can drive
all over the place, as long as you have 3.5G coverage, the maximum i dared to go was
about 1 km from base without supervision.

Step 2: The Idea

Picture of The Idea
The main goal is to be able to remotely control an RC vehicle using the mobile phone
Network (3.5G or 4G) controlled  via Internet Telerobotics in order to explore your
neighborhood, or let other people in remote locations do the exploring!
This goal is possible by equipping an RC Truck with an on-board computer capable of
connecting itself to the 3.5G/4G Network, thus making it ready to be controlled by any
one with a computer with an Internet connection.

Note:
  - In the image above, the hexagons correspond to the mobile phone network coverage
    area.
  - The RC's Truck Transmitter is used as an USB plug and play device, to control the RC.
Tomdf1 year ago
This is super awesome! I especially like the diagrams. Grats on your win!
aldricnegrier (author)  Tomdf1 year ago
Thanks :)
aldricnegrier (author)  aldricnegrier1 year ago
Wow, i just visited your profile page :)

And i discovered that you also won the first prize with
me and the other robot, congratulations to you too :)

Your bot is amazing, i even thought that you would win the grand prize, because of the "originality factor".

Good luck with the other contests Tomdf!
cocacolax1 year ago
I'm a noob btw. How did you get the E-Maxx to run for 5 hours?? Cuz everyone says that they can only run for like 10 mins max 20mins O.o
aldricnegrier (author)  cocacolax1 year ago
A difficult question, thank you cocacolax.

If you drive you E-Maxx at full speed using the Traxxas Transmitter each motor will consume around 30000mAh and reach 30+mph top speed. Depending on your batteries you can run at full speed for less than 10 min.

In this project the 2 motors of the E-Maxx are controlled by an Electronic Switch Controller that is in turn controlled by a Servo Micro-Controller instead of the Traxxas Transmitter, i designed the software that controls the Servo Micro Controller to limit the Speed of the Motors, so instead of 30+mph the rover can only go from 0mph to approximately 4 to 5 mph using two 4600mAh batteries.
So at around 4 to 5mph the motors consume around 3800mAh 4000mAh, so in theory you can drive the motor for a little more than 1 hour at top speed (4 to 5 mph) with the 4600 mAh batteries.

When you are controlling the rover using Internet Telerobotics you don't drive at full speed all the time (4~5mph) unless you want to have an accident
so i "calculated / guessed" that you can have a 5 hours autonomy if you do exploring instead of racing.

It all comes down to how you drive, the faster you drive the quicker your battery dies out.
Do you have a link or part# for this ESC? I'd really like to learn more about those.
aldricnegrier (author)  Tomdf1 year ago
The stock E.S.C on the Traxxas E-Maxx is called EVX-2.

The EVX-2 part number is "3019", you can check out
its specs over at the Traxxas website:

http://traxxas.com/products/models/electric/3903emaxx-specs

Cheers,
victorjung1 year ago
hi, i found youre project really well made!
i am doing something really similar, but i am using an ad'hoc connection beetween server and client, with power wifi adapter to have a quite wide range!
I have one question for you are you happy by using motion for the streaming?
cause i made test with vlc, and some other soft, but i never get a direct stream, i always had 3-4 seconds delay at best and it's too much for me... so motion is good for that according to you?
aldricnegrier (author)  victorjung1 year ago
Hi victorjung,

During this project i tried several video-streaming applications such as:

VLC - Forget this application it creates too much lag

FFMpeg combined with FFServer - Not a bad application but it tends to accumulate lag with time

Motion - One of the best applications i tried, very low CPU usage, very little lag and highly customizable

MJPG-Streamer - This application is as good as Motion, very low CPU usage, very little lag but not as customizable as Motion

I would recommend you to try out MJPG-Streamer and Motion and see witch one delivers a better result.
aldricnegrier (author)  aldricnegrier1 year ago
(removed by author or community request)
hi, thanks for all these informations! 0.5s latence is totally acceptable for me! and i don't need sound for my project cause it's a kind of explorating boat !
Anyway i will make tries when i will have a little more time! thanks a lot!
aldricnegrier (author)  victorjung1 year ago
Sorry i totally messed up my comment, i am going to delete it,
what i meant was:

I forgot to mention that with by using Motion or MJPG-Streamer
you will get latency bellow 0.5 seconds, depending on your
Internet connection.

keep in mind that Motion and MJPG-Streamer only do video
streaming, so you will need an application to do audio streaming,
and the best one for that is Murmur (server) / Mumble (client),
with latency values bellow 0.5 seconds depending on your Internet
connection.

Read more here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumble_%28software%29

Cheers,
aldricnegrier (author) 1 year ago
If you like this project please support by casting a vote on the Robot Challenge, thank you.
wold6301 year ago
You got my vote. This is amazing. Great work.
aldricnegrier (author)  wold6301 year ago
Thank you for your vote wold630.
And by the way, congratulations on wining the Cake Decoration Challenge.
Thanks again.
akinich1 year ago
amazing instructable
5 stars!!!
can this be done with ubuntu instead of debain because i have been using linux for about a year and still getting used to it
thanks
aldricnegrier (author)  akinich1 year ago
Thanks. Yes it can be done using ubuntu. Folow these instructions on how to install xenomai:

http://www.lara.unb.br/wiki/index.php/Ubuntu_Real-time_Xenomai
aldricnegrier (author) 1 year ago
Hi to all, i have just published a new instructable called:

"Mobile Earth Rover Two - 3.5G Exploration"

In this new publication, i use a Single Board Computer similar to the Raspberry Pi, called FoxBoardG20, i made this project somewhere around 2010.

Note:

The Raspberry Pi specs: (2012)
Size 85.60mm x 53.98mm
Area: 4620mm2
Price - 30$ :)

Thte Foxboard G20 specs: (2010)
Size 66mm x 72 mm
Area: 4752mm2
Price - 160$ :(
Awesome project! You could change the eee-pc+arduino with only a raspberry Pi to make smaller and cheaper if you haven't a netbook (Rasp Pi costs around 25$) :D. I'm not sure, but I think Raspberry Pi GPIO could be used to communicate with the servo controller, so you don't need an extra arduino board.
I think I'm going to build one with my old and dusty RC car. Maybe it won't be so cool, but will be funny.

Good job.
aldricnegrier (author)  jcano yribarren1 year ago
Thank you for the comment!

Yes a Raspberry Pi would probably work, i am going to make a new instructables called "Mobile Earth Rover 2" i did in 2010 using a Single Board Computer called "FoxBoard G20" that is similar to the Raspberry Pi.
aldricnegrier (author) 2 years ago
I was asked for some help on installing a Xenomai patched Linux Kernel so i updated the instructables with the XENOMAI HOW-TO on Debian distribution.
Look at step 9 The Software: (Real Time Linux) for instructions.
MaddMann2 years ago
Really nice project and extremely well done! Thanks for sharing all your hard work. Have you thought about a rear-view camera? Like a PIP? Seems that would be helpful.
aldricnegrier (author)  MaddMann2 years ago
Thank you for your comment, indeed rear view would be very nice, an alternative is to hack the "pan servo" to do 360º having in mind that the Webcam is attached by a cable so you have to be careful not to tangle it.
You could stereo de images with another camera, and then on the client side view them in 3D.

Trabalho ótimo, em que faculdade andavas em 2009?
aldricnegrier (author)  mangol2 years ago
Thank you for the comment.
UALG.
I am interested in remote control car. I saw the comments .You said you have some similar ones usiing smartphone.Where can I find your other projects?
Thanks!
aldricnegrier (author)  eddie54920012 years ago
Hi eddie5492001, my other projects are not online, but you can search the web for smartphone robots and find a lot of stuff to start off. Good luck.
I love this project. It seems that the eepc is the main drawback because it is rather large and heavy to be placed on the rc vehicle. Would it be possible to do this project using a smaller device capable of running Linux? If you could eliminate the eepc and use a smartphone or similar device, this whole system could be much more compact.
aldricnegrier (author)  rceckspurt132 years ago
Thanks for the comment.
I used the Traxxas E-Maxx because it is huge and scales 1:10 from a real sized car, if you put hard springs on the RC it can support a lot of weight.
In that regard a EeePC is quite lite for making an on-board computer.
You can use a Single Board Computer or a Smartphone as i did in my other projects and had the same results.
A Raspberry Pi could be ideal for this kind of thing, especially for smaller rovers that can't fit a netbook.
aldricnegrier (author)  thalass2 years ago
I agree with you in part, the downfall is that the smaller the rover the less secure you will feel to let it by its self. Also the smaller it is the easyer it is to bo stolen :(
I hadn't though of that. I was thinking of exploring bushland myself, rather than the city. Though big means less likely to get stuck on a rock or something, so you're probably on to something!
aldricnegrier (author) 2 years ago
Check out the NEW 3D Sketch video of the Mobile Earth Rover!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILoqGquoMe4
aldricnegrier (author) 2 years ago
Get ready for an Extreme RC Truck Modification in order
to allow for some Extreme Mobile Earth Exploration!!!

This project jest got selected as a Finalist on the Extreme Contest :)

Thank you all for your comments and your interest in the project.
boom man562 years ago
so cool!!!!!!
rbusball2 years ago
WOW this is an awesome project. I honestly was talking about making the same thing a few months ago. Super nice job congrats.
Mariuslol12 years ago
Hi, this is really cool. I am thinking of building one myself. Bu how much would it cost if I already had the car, laptop and camera? Also, do you pay for using the 3g internet? If I make one I will post it as a video response to one of your vids :)
aldricnegrier (author)  Mariuslol12 years ago
Hi Mariuslol1, thanks for the comment, you do have to pay to have unlimited 3.5G / 4G data plan.
Very cool project!! I'm gonna start tomorrow on similar. I have one little question:) How do you have so much trust in leaving the car/laptop in the streets without fear of theft!? Or was it watched all the time?
aldricnegrier (author)  undertakerbro2 years ago
Thanks for the comment, regarding your question, i live in an area near the University where the residents are mostly students, teachers and old aged people, i live for many years so i know many people how live nearby and this area there is no crime.

I have confidence that no one will steal it because if you are in public with the rover no one will steal it while others are watching, it all comes down to your confidence in the people how live in the neighborhood, if you have crime in your neighborhood don't leave the rover on it's own, if you don't have crime you are good to go.

My advice is to explore places where there are lots of people and during day time, so you can feel safe, if you don't feel safe go to a place where you do.
Or you can always ask a friend to walk alongside with the rover in the initial explorations in order to build up your confidence.
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