The Grand Plan

The following was my grand plan, as I started into my exploration (NPI) of robotics…

An Autonomous Mining Collective

The objective is to build a multi-robot unit to explore new landscape, discover, and recover valuable materials. My grander idea is to, eventually, get others involved in contributing to this enterprise. To take a collaborative approach to achieving a goal.  Maybe competitions (not unlike FIRST) where fully autonomous robot teams work to a common goal, each contributing their own part of the required tasks.

Anyway… the plan…

In the first sprint (term misused to piss off any Agile PMs 🙂 we will build an explorer. The purpose to identify general suitability of the “Planet” to roam, map (crudely), monitor and report on terrain, environment of subject.

Second – add to explorer capabilities to more accurately survey, via astronavigation for improved accuracy in mapping and identification of potential ore sites.

Third – Assayer – Travels to the identified potential ore sites to assay the opportunity, to qualify the identified deposits and then direct Harvester to the superior deposits.

Forth – Harvester – Moves to goods deposits and extracts.

Fifth and up:

  • Navigator – Working from the team’s map, this robot will attempt to run a course in minimal time.
  • Tanker – Supports other robots with power recharges.
  • Transporter – Moves acquired goods from Harvester to Home Base.
  • Defender – Protects others from other mining con-gloms and their minions.
  • Tow – Tug boat type robot to help robots out of jams.

General Concepts/Ideas/Oopsies :

  • Mapping: All mapping data will be shared, via radio signaling, with other collective robots. This is expected to allow for quicker and more accurate mapping of the area. Still working on the format of the map, but the concept of having the Arduino collect the navigation data and forward it to the Raspberry Pi via I2C via vectors is planned.


forums @ Trossen Robotics

Society of Robots


  • Astronavigation: Surveyor will have the capability to triangulate off of two “stars” of known 3D coordinates. These stars could be single unshaded light bulbs. As I have recently acquired a pair of Crayola Digital Light Designers, I may attempt to make these stars. One of the tasks of Surveyor would be to identify and map other stars, to assist in astronavigation.


  • Explorer à Rover: As progress on Explorer proceeded (Mid-May), it was found that building the mapping function would take a significant effort. To this end, the sprint 🙂 was split into Rover and Explorer. Rover being navigation without mapping. Later Explorer will include map making. To date Rover is complete in all but rewriting and testing new PWM routines to control the drive motors. It relies on control of an Arduino Nano for all its functions. The Explorer will add a Raspberry Pi 3-B, which will handle the Explorer mapping functionality.




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