FRC world 2011

This coming weekend is the FRC 2011 world robotics competition.  After this, the 2011 FRC season will be over.  We are hoping to do decently well, as we feel that our robot can perform, but the question is going to be how it holds up against the other world-class robots.

While this will make the sad end of 2011 FRC, it will also mark the beginning of next cycle for our team when it comes to FRC robotics.  Next year we are already planning to get a lot more training in for everyone on the team.  It should be interesting to see everyone getting trained at all the various parts of the build season.  This should differ greatly from what we had this year with a few main people doing large chucks of the work.

I am hoping that next year will be able to be a lot of fun, as there are some thing that should be different from this year.  The first is being that we (as a team) are wishing to build more practice bots during the off-season.  Our goal is three different drive systems and then articulations to go along with said drive systems.  As the current programming leader, I would also like to see more people getting on the programming side of the robot.  I have big dreams with wanting to see a robot that could drive itself completely autonomously.  I am currently thinking that a xbox kinect could be used as the primary sensor for the system.  When in an indoor condition, the kinect is able to give distance data up to 27 meters away, which would be more than enough for decent robot control.  The kinect also packs a decent resolution camera into it.  The main problem with the kinect is that it is USB, and the cRIO has no interfaces for USB.  So my current plan is to use a pc104 like board with USB and ethernet to interface between the two devices.  This second processing unit could also serve as a video co processor on the robot possibly providing a lot more computational power.