During the work on my thesis I used the parts of a Freescale Cup model car to build a robot which can autonomously follow a leading vehicle, or in other terms: which can make an autonomous car convoy. The following is based on the image results from a Line Scan camera which is attached to the front of the follower vehicle. The camera is sensing a line figure which is attached to the back of the leading vehicle.
My first task was assembling the hardware parts of the car, then I developed various methods for making the followed line figure, including using infrared light and retroreflective materials. In the end I chose a simple figure, which is a white line laying on a black background. I developed a peak detection algorithm which can sense the white line, what is the base of my software.
The completed software follow the changes in the detected peak’s width and position, and use this information to control the servo motor for steering, and to regulate the speed with the help of the motorboard and DC motors. I used PID algorithm for the control of the vehicle’s speed.
I tested the completed car several times, then made a video record to demonstrate the following capabilities of the vehicle.