2015

We are the robot that starts at the bottom-left of the field, and then autonomously picks up a recycling container

We are the robot that starts at the bottom-left of the field, and then autonomously picks up a recycling container


Our 2015 robot was successfully developed to build three stacks six totes high, each with a recycling container and pool noodle on top. A quick/robust stacking system and the ability to acquire a recycling container in any orientation were key contributors. Additionally, our robot can retrieve two recycling containers from the step in less than 0.5 seconds during the autonomous period, helping ensure we can maximize points during the teleoperated period.

Drivetrain: Powered by 4 Mini CIM motors, single-speed gearboxes drive a 6wd WCD with an internal bicycle-chain system. No wheel- drop provides stability for handling stacks.

Tote Stacker: Forklift powered by two 775 motors for quickly stacking up to six totes. Passive escapements on the fork provides a simple and robust solution. Fully automated stacking allows the driver to throw pool noodles when the robot is stacking totes at the chute door (yes, chute door).

Tote Conveyor: The robot is primarily a tote stacker via the chute door. A conveyor on the robot feeds totes from the chute door directly into the final location for the forklift to stack. Active tote crowders allow for minimal robot alignment requirements at the chute door to ensure the robot can start acquiring totes immediately upon arrival at the chute door.

Recycling Container Gripper/Elevator: A gripper on a tilting elevator allows the system to pick up recycling containers tipped over, or on the step. It is also used to present the recycling container for pool noodle insertion. Its integrated design allows the stack to be built with the recycling container on top, helping to minimize stack-to-stack cycle-times.

Recycling Container Retriever: Powered by a 775 motor and latex tubing to retrieve two recycling containers from the step in less than 0.5 seconds during the autonomous period.

Autonomous: Multiple autonomous modes, including:

  • Pick up a recycling container and present it for pool noodle insertion.
  • Pick up a recycling container, and then get clear of other robots running a three-tote autonomous mode.
  • Retrieve two recycling containers on the left side of the step in less than 0.5 seconds.
  • Retrieve two recycling containers on the right side of the step in less than 0.5 seconds.
  • Remain in place.

Controls: Wheel encoders allow for accurate driving control during autonomous. Closed-loop control with dynamic PID coefficients for the tote stacker provides a quick and fully automated tote stacking process. Optical sensors on the tote conveyor enable efficient tote alignment and pass-through to the forklift.

Software: Written in Java. Multiple software interlocks help ensure the robot does not get damaged by actuating conflicting mechanism states. Various functions coded to simplify driver/operator robot interaction, including a button to lower and release the tote stack on the scoring platform, initialization and abort buttons for the tote stacker, among others.