The AX2550 Motor Controller has been installed in four of the 20 robotic vehicles that were vying for the $1M prize that DARPA was offering to the winner of the Los Angeles to Las Vegas race held on Saturday March 14, 2004. These vehicles had to find their way and drive the 210-mile trek without a human driver or operator, using solely their own sensors and computers to recognize and navigate through the difficult mountainous and desert terrain.
Each of the three vehicles uses the controller in the position mode to drive the steering with one channel and the throttle with the other. Steering is particularly challenging because of the high force that it normally takes to turn the wheel and the difficulty to move it to a desired position in a fast and stable fashion, using traditional electronics.
The AX2550 can easily be interfaced to any computer through its built-in RS232 interface. The controller can also be operated with a standard RC radio or direct analog joystick, which is handy for manually driving the vehicle until the computer pilot is activated.
|The Golem Group team made it the Roboteq-equipped vehicle that went the further in the race with a total of 5 miles. It eventually got stuck going uphill because the throttle command had been limited by (bad) design to prevent the robot from going too fast. Congratulations to the team and best wishes for 2005||
|"We found that Roboteq's AX2550 is by far the simplest and fastest way to automate a full size automobile," says Chris Pederson, Leader of the AIMotorvators Team. His team's robot is a custom-made, off-road vehicle powered by a V8 Chevy engine fitted with GPS, video cameras, laser range finder, and guided by two Intel Xeon(R) Processors.|
|"The AX2550's high current drive, PID closed loop feedback, and handy PC utility made steering control literally a plug and play experience," reported Warren Williams, Leader of Team Phantasm. His Ladibug robot is a modified Kawasaki ATV fitted with short-range microwave radar, ultrasound sensors, and GPS.||
"The AX2550 was easy to interface to our microcomputer and delivered the exceptional response time and accuracy needed by our challenging vehicle, " said Anthony Lavandowski, Leader of the Blue Team. His Ghostrider robot is an automated dirt bike and the only two-wheeled vehicle in the race. This self-balancing design used two Roboteq controllers, one for the steering and throttle, the other for extending legs if and when the bike comes to a stop.