Development and maintenance of slot car platooning platform

Active: 
yes

A skillful and enthusiastic undergraduate student is wanted who woud join our AA4CC team in further development and maintenance of the "Slot Car Platooning" project. Good programming skills (both low-level programming in C and some higher-level Java programming) and some very basic experience in practical electronics are expected.

To get some idea about the project, check out the video at https://youtu.be/TBFM7v2_VAk?list=LLJVnzEJGGwpkOWxogmbhlIw and have a look at the paper downloadable at http://aa4cc.dce.fel.cvut.cz/content/vehicular-platooning-experiments-us....

The motivation behind the project is to investigate and demonstrate experimentally some dynamic phenomena encountered in distributed control of multivehicle systems. For example, we have investigated theoretically that the creation of trafic jams is related to propagation of traveling waves along the platoon and this can be mittigated by designing some "wave absorbers" (see the recently defended doctoral thesis by Dan Martinec https://support.dce.felk.cvut.cz/mediawiki/images/9/9d/Diz_2016_martinec...). These phenomena could be demonstrated in a visually attractive way using the described slot car platoon.  

The development of the slot car platooning experimental platform is already quite advanced, it has been running for a few years now. The onboard electronics now seems fixed (there are two computer-based controllers onboard each slot car: low-level controller based on MCU ARM STM32F401RBT and high-level controller based on Raspberry Pi Compute Module) but it might need occassional fixes. The software has also reached a mature stage but further development is planned (towards greater user comfort, using more sensors, ...). Moreover, a long-term maintainence of the code base is needed too.

The collaboration of the interested student with the AA4CC team should start right away - during the spring 2017. The goal of the spring collaboration will be to learn the key information about the project and gradually take over the duties from the current maintainer (to be graduated in July 2017). In case of successful engagement of the student in the project, the partication of the student at 2017 IFAC World Congress in Toulouse (https://www.ifac2017.org/), France, where the slot car platooning platform will be demonstrated, will be arranged.

The collaboration then could continue during the summer by means of paid summer internship.

And the summer work could then continue during the next academic year in the form of a formal final undergraduate (thesis) project.

Contact person: 
Zdeněk Hurák
Video: Distributed control of a platoon of autonomous racing slot cars
Video: Experiments with a distributed control of a platoon of slotcars
Video: Experiments with distributed control of a platoon of autonomous racing slot cars
Image: Slotcars on the track
Image: Slotcar - top view
Image: Inside slotcar - STM board
Image: Inside slotcar - STM board (another viewpoint)
Image: Inside slotcar - Raspberry Pi Compute Module