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The CEID is buzzing with students again after a quieter winter break. Among the groups who have gathered to engineer, innovate, and design are five sophomores: Kevin Abbott, Jason Brooks, Alex Carrillo, Pranay Maddi, and Phil Piper. The team of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science majors is building a fully autonomous vehicle to compete in the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition this June. The vehicle must navigate an obstacle course on a grassy field, staying within white painted lines and navigating to GPS waypoints autonomously.

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The group is modifying a Segway Robotic Mobility Platform (RMP) donated by Dr. John Morrel to create a three-wheeled vehicle configured a bit like a tricycle. The third wheel will be added to the Segway’s platform which they will rotate ninety degrees. The team uses an extremely accurate GPS with half-meter resolution to travel to the appropriate locations in the obstacle course and two laser range finders to reflect light off objects and see surroundings. A camera points at hyperbolic mirror facing the grass to image the ground around the vehicle and help it stay within the lines of the obstacle course.

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Currently, the team is making mechanical structure and working on algorithms. Later they will test their modified Segway at a mock up of the field. The group expressed appreciation to Yale SEAS, the US Military Acedemy, the Yale Computer Science Department, and Novatel for their support of the project.