Pi Wars T-61: Progress

My aim when I started my entry was to have the robot mostly mechanically complete by the start of this year, which would give me these three months to finish my challenge attachments, write code for the difficult autonomous challenges, shakedown the bot and generally get into a competition ready state. The bodywork and chassis redesign dragged on longer than I'd like, but it's done and I'm back to working on challenge readiness.

At the start of the project I wrote a vague list of milestones which could inform the progress bar on the sidebar of the blog - I haven't been sticking to it rigorously but it ought to be a good indicator of how the progress is going generally.



.have a vague plan
.model the body
.build a prototype chassis
.write some code for the core parts
.attach all the core hardware to the chassis
.combine the hardware and the body
.design attachments for stuff
.build attachments
.build flashies
.combine attachments into loom and hardware
.write code for attachments
.test all the things, learn to drive
.build mockup challenge courses
.write autonomous code
.tune autonomous code against mockup challenges
.write code for flashies
.improve attachments
.improve body, final iteration
.final test'n'tune
.assemble bits for race day

trophy ...after!

The big picture: I have a mechanically complete, driveable robot chassis. It has code to pick different challenge routines from a menu, and code to attempt three of the four challenges I intend to do autonomously (Lava Palaver, Minesweeper and Escape Route.) I've also got mockups of two of those courses at the hackspace, ready to test and tune the code against.

The big things remaining to do are to build the attachments I'll need for the Zombie Apocalypse and Eco Disaster challenges, write some code to try to sort barrels into zones, and get some more stick time driving the bot around in manual mode so I can be at least a tiny bit competitive in the obstacle course and Pi noon challenges.

There's also the small matter of the flashy lights, which I promised in my entry application and which form a big part of the theme. I have a decent idea how these will work, but how exactly to get the Pi communicating with the Arduino which will drive them across different languages, devices and voltages is another matter.

All things considered, it's progressing, I'm not panicking hugely, and continuing at this pace ought to be able to at least enter and attempt every challenge.