The Mars Rover was the final project for my Computer Engineering 288 Class (Embedded Systems). In the class we learned about programming embedded systems which are small microchips with limited memory and processing power.
In our case, we programmed on the ATMEGA128 processor mounter on an iRobot platform. The iRobot Create platform we used included infrared sensors, sonar sensors and a servo. The main goal of the project was to navigate the Rover to avoid obstacles and end up at a “Check Point” determined by 4 small pillars surrounding it.
The skills I acquired while working on this project includes, team work, embedded systems design, and embedded C programming. The hardware components of the project mentioned above were provided by the university. Our team wrote the C code to make all the elements of the robots function and we also created an API (Application Programmers Interface) so that we could easily create a course navigation algorithm. To assist us in this task, we used the Atmel ATmega 128 manual and the standard C library.
The knowledge I gained from this project is directly applicable to space exploration since we were maneuvering a small robot in an unknown environment.