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Designing RC-controlled vehicle collision avoidance systems

Posted: 08 Mar 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Silego  vehicle collision avoidance system  RC car  GPAK4 

Taking advantage of the easy to use GreenPAK Designer development software, the ultrasonic collision avoidance system implemented in the SLG46620V GPAK4 is organised in five main functional systems: ECHO Ready System: Prepares the ECHO signal for comparison; Throttle Ready System: Prepares the THROTTLE_IN signal for comparison; Comparison: Analyses the throttle and echo signals to trigger the stopping of the vehicle by blocking the throttle throughput; Pulse Generator: Sends 10μs pulses every 60ms to the HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Ranging Module to trigger echo pings; and LED and Function Control: Enables the ultrasonic collision avoidance system when LED_CH_IN receives a PWM positive pulse width bigger than 1.5ms from the receiver. When the system is active, the front LEDs are fully lit and the rear LEDs are dimly lit. When the collision system is triggered (stopping the car), the rear LEDs are fully illuminated, just like the brake lights on a rear car.

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Figure 2: GreenPAK Designer Development Software (Source: Silego)

Well, I don't know about you, but I for one am tremendously impressed. Even though I'm familiar with advances in technology, it's still amazing to me that so much diverse functionality can be crammed into such a tiny chip.

GPAK

Figure 3: GPAK (Source: Silego)

If you are interested in learning more about how this system was implemented, you can visit the vehicle collision avoidance webpage where you can access an application note and the associated GPAK Designer project file. All you'll need to view the project file and tinker with the system is to download Silego's GreenPAK Designer tool, which is free on Silego.com.

If you want to go further and start programming your own GPAK4 devices, you'll need a GreenPAK 4 Development Kit ($59.99). This little rascal comes with a development board, ZIF socket, and a bunch of GPAK sample chips (I have one sitting here on my desk as I pen these words).

As for me, I'm now tempted to start playing with RC cars. I know a few guys who do this, but I don't think any of their cars are equipped with collision avoidance capabilities. I can imagine "playing the innocent" and driving my car straight toward a wall or something, and then watching their faces when my car stopped itself. Hmmm...

- Max Maxfield
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