So I just purchased this kit from Sparkfun, the Actobotics 4WD chassis: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13141 (It was a tough choice between that or the tank!!).
I intend to make this thing controllable entirely via an app I write either for Android or for iOS (haven’t decided yet). I haven’t figured out which sensors I want on it for autonomous drive yet, I have the following goals, in order of difficulty:
- Make it driveable using Spark cloud (worried about latency) [wondering if I need to expose a socket server and send raw commands to the Spark rather than use the REST cloud API for control]
- Rig up all kinds of outrageous LEDs (All Jeep modders can sympathize with this desire)
- Add a bunch of sensors so I can track things like inclination angle, GPS coordinates, etc.
- Explore semi-autonomous driving
I am a hardware newb, but I’ve been writing code for 30 years, so I have some hardware questions:
- Can I control these 4 motors directly from the Spark?
- If I need a separate motor controller, which one should I use? Should I just wait for the Spark motion shield? If so, can I rig up something that will simulate the Spark motion shield in the meantime?
- How do I deal with power? I’m assuming I’m going to have a big fat RC battery in there somewhere, but I don’t know if the Spark will get its power from that as well, or if they’re different power sources and the Spark is effectively the switch?
Basically I’m just looking for general guidance on where to go from chassis to something I can drive? I am committed to being able to do this whole thing with a Spark and not fall back on existing Arduino kits.