P18390: Translational Drift Robot

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Problem Definition Documents directory

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

Project Summary

Translational Drift Robot [WAV]

Translational drift is a method of controlling wheeled robots where a robot rotates around a vertical axis at high speeds, and can translate in the horizontal plane simultaneously. The direction and movement is caused by varying the speed of each drive motor to produce a directional translation. Currently typical robots use reference points to determine a “front” and the user bases their controls and direction of movement from this. These robots use LED’s that lights is at the same frequency as the robot’s rotation and creates an arc of light, similar to POV light display systems. Other types of implementations use external beacons as an absolute reference point, the problem with this system is that it requires direct line of sight to the beacons and can be affected by interference such as obstacles of other robots.

Our project uses an internal control system which uses the idea of absolute references, and using the Earth’s magnetic field as a way of determining the orientation of the bot. Since the robot will have absolute references there will be no need for a declared front. This will cause the robot to be able to be controlled by the user and ultimately be the reference point of how the robot is to move. This allows the robot to be easily controlled without interference, since they will never run into the problem of inverted axes since it will constantly be receiving feedback of its position to Earth’s magnetic force and the radio transmitter controlling it.

A live one page summary of the problem can be found here.

Use Cases

Scenario 1
Imagine RIT

Imagine RIT

Scenario 2
Combat Robots Competition

Combat Robots Competition

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Wanted Documents and products once project is complete:


Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer Requirements
A transnational drift style combat robot of a standard featherweight class (<30 lbs) using absolute positioning, meaning the absence of a designated “front” to base directions off of.
Accuracy in determining and following heading and stable when stationary.
The robot and system should be durable, to the extent where when competing within a combat robot competition they will be able to both survive and ideally thrive.
Modular allowing modification and repairs to be preformed with ease and ultimately adapted to different robot weight classes.
The control system should also be able to be run in standard relative positioning mode should the absolute system fail or be turned off.
The control system should be able to go into twin-drive mode, where the robot will be able to translate linearly without any rotational movement
Controller-side orientation measurement to ensure robot is always based off of controller’s current orientation, allowing for a relative reference to be set as the operator.
Follow NERC Regulations

A live document can be accessed here.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

Engineering Requirements Maximum Ideal Minimum
Weight [lb] 30 30 30-5%
Heading Deviation [degrees] 10 0 -
Shock Load Resistance [gravities] - 500 500
Functional Rotational Speed [rpm] 3000 - 100
Invertible - Yes -
Drop Height Survivability [ft] - 10 5
Spin Up Time Up to 60% KE [seconds] 4 2 -
Max Rotational KE [J/lb] - 100 50
Drift When Stationary [in/sec] 3 0 -

A live document of Engineering Requirements can be found here


The top constraints which our project has to meet are listed below

House of Quality

House of Quality

House of Quality

A live document of the House of Quality can be found here.


Benchmarking - General

Benchmarking - General

Benchmarking - Materials

Benchmarking - Materials

Benchmarking - Motors

Benchmarking - Motors

Benchmarking - Motor Controllers

Benchmarking - Motor Controllers

For a updated list of benchmarks reference here.

Risk Assessment

Assessing our risks by placing importance on each individually, allows us to minimize the significance. As we constantly try to prevent possible failure modes of the product, our product will continue to improve. For an up to date Risk Assessment document look here.

Risk Assessments

Risk Assessments

Design Review Materials

To view documentation from our design review reference the links listed below (presented Septemeber 14th, 2017):


Plans for next phase

Below is our schedule for the next three weeks.

Project Plan

Project Plan

The most up to date copy can be found here.

Individual copies of our plan for the following week can be found below.

Rob Sokolowski

Jimmy Kramer

Alex Howard

Stephen Pasek

Jake Harrell

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