QUT Droid Racer Challenge
What is the Droid Racer Challenge (DRC)?
In a nutshell: Australian and international universities are invited to build, program and race autonomous vehicles against each other. Each vehicle will be created by a small team and must navigate around an outdoor track using its sensors and motors. It's usually held in July at QUT where prizes are awarded to the best droid racers.
Griffith University has previously fielded one team each year with the support from the School of ICT and the School of Engineering. You may have seen our car before but it's essentially a big radio controlled car designed for racing. The race is primarily aimed for vision processing, e.g. using a webcam and various vision processing technologies to detect lanes and then making decisions on whether to turn left or right, last year we used a Logitech C920 webcam with a wide-angled lens attached. Our past strategy was using classical programming and fuzzy logic to filter lanes and then make decisions on how far to turn left or right according to a set of weights. The vision processing was done using OpenCV to capture and process the image.
What do you gain?
Fame, fortune and glory are yours for the taking! Maybe not the last two... or the first one. However, you will get an opportunity to learn a lot about programming and software development! OpenCV is a library available in C++ so you'll get to learn about a proper programming language. This means you'll also learn about how to use an IDE such as Visual Studio. After the vision processing has been done, the processing computer (usually a laptop) will then need to send control data to our Raspberry Pi which means you'll be learning about networking and how to send packets of data. From there, the Raspberry Pi sends this information to an Arduino which controls the motors (C!). If you're interested in software architecture/engineering, this is a great way to find out about software and hardware integration and solving bigger problems.