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View Full Version : [Project] "Mod" a Driveway Surface Cleaner



Santa15
05-19-2015, 03:07 PM
I'm looking for some thoughts/input. Would really appreciate any and all feedback. I'm not a robotics expert by an stretch and was ultimately going to try and find a local college student to help me with this.

I'm looking to "mod" my driveway surface cleaner https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/crIja22NTtCEYmKxSxForSAVXO9zsZPWm9nyAAy4aPs https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/Ap1JXp0D7DC2j4J1GCOOlMC4AzEHfht54L7C3dGoJ_I to clean a large rectangular section of the driveway itself.

Here is a picture of the surface cleaner:

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/crIja22NTtCEYmKxSxForSAVXO9zsZPWm9nyAAy4aPs

and

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/Ap1JXp0D7DC2j4J1GCOOlMC4AzEHfht54L7C3dGoJ_I

I'm figuring I'll "cut in" the cleaning around the edges manually, leaving a large 30 foot x 40 foot rectangle that needs to be cleaned.

I'm looking to start the survace cleaner in one corner and simply have it go up the driveway, move over 3/4 of the cleaner's width, and then go down the driveway, move over 3/4 of the cleaner's width, and then back up the driveway until the whole rectangle is covered. There are no obstacles and the surface is a consistent white/light grey concrete.

As the pictures show, the surface cleaner is a 22" round Roomba looking machine, with 4 castor wheels. My thoughts were to remove the handle and two of the castor wheels and replace with motorized wheels. Is this a "smart" way to go about this? Thoughts?

As far as navigation, I was contemplating making it a "line following" bot -- where i can simply outline the path I want it to follow in chalk each time I clean.

My questions are as follows:

Do you think this is a "doable" project?

Would you have the bot navigate using another method?

What do you think is the best way to approach this project?

Thanks for any thoughts or input you may have!! I appreciate it.

jwatte
05-25-2015, 09:43 PM
You can probably get something like two electric wheelchair motors, a LiFe 12V or 24V battery pack, a motor controller, and some navigation logic. GPS, camera, beacons, line following -- I think they are all possible. If you're not comfortable with mechanical engineering (like welding and machining,) then the necessary robustness may be hard to achieve for you (hence the college student? :-)

However, consider:

There are no obstacles

There are no obstacles, until there are obstacles. A squirrel runs across the driveway. The dog suddenly feels like chasing the bot (because the squirrel corpse that got stuck on it smells delicious.) The neighbor's toddler likes the 'bot and runs into the driveway to examine it.

The reason Roomba can vacuum, and Electrolux can kind-of mow grass, is that they are small and self-contained and weak enough that they won't cause significant harm (unless you flip that mower upside down...) The driveway cleaner you're showing looks like it's slightly bigger, slighty heavier, and thus more dangerous. Just be sure you've thought through this aspect of the problem before you start!

Given the budget this will cost, you could probably hire a local student once every two weeks for the next five years for the money this will cost you. But maybe that's not the point? :-)

Tommy_T
06-01-2015, 06:21 AM
My thoughts were to remove the handle and two of the castor wheels and replace with motorized wheels. Is this a "smart" way to go about this? Thoughts?
Santa15 (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/member.php?12873-Santa15), sweet project. one of the biggest problems I have with my project is I also went with a differential drive system(skid steering)
which has turned out to be very unstable in real life (outdoors)applications, one small rock can send it off coarse requiring coarse corrections.
If I started over I'd go with a ackerman or all wheel steering setup which would be better at straight line tracking.

Tommy
http://usahg.org/