Home > Maxon Motor Supplies Customised Brushless DC Gear Motors and Encoders for MAGIC 2010

Maxon Motor Supplies Customised Brushless DC Gear Motors and Encoders for MAGIC 2010

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article image Customised Brushless DC Gear Motors

Maxon Motor Australia  is a leading supplier of high precision DC Servo motors, brushless motors and drives.

Brushless DC motors from Maxon have been supplied for a robot design project entered for the MAGIC competition.

The MAGIC Challenge

The Multi Autonomous Ground-Robotic International Challenge (MAGIC) jointly sponsored by the Australian and US Departments of Defence has been initiated to attract innovative proposals for the development of fully autonomous ground vehicle systems capable of performing military operations and civilian emergency situations.

The competition is divided into three separate stages:

  • Submission of Technical Proposal
  • Preliminary Challenge (June 2010)
  • Final Grand Challenge (November 2010)

In collaboration with Strategic Engineering, a team of final year honour students have undertaken this challenge as an honours project, working on various aspects of robot design and manufacture in preparation for the Preliminary Challenge.

The Project

Created by Richard Aplin and a team from Strategic Engineering, the robot has been selected as one of 12 finalists for the Multi Autonomous Ground-Robotic International Challenge (MAGIC), jointly sponsored by the Federal Defence Science and Technology Organisation and US Department of Defense.

The team's entry is in the running for $US750,000 in prize-money, not to mention potential research grants and lucrative defence contracts.

Mr Aplin hopes the robot will eventually replace soldiers on dangerous search-and-destroy missions in places such as Afghanistan.  

Mr Aplin's submission included a prototype robot plus detailed video presentation outlining the machine's development, construction and potential.

Defence Minister Greg Combet said of the 12 teams, five are from the US, four from Australia and one each from Canada, Japan and Turkey.

"Most of the teams comprise partnerships between universities and companies at the forefront of robotics technology, such as Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, General Dynamics, Thales Australia and the University of Adelaide,'' he said.

The honours project involves building ten autonomous ground robots, which will communicate and operate as a team to successfully map a 500m x 500m challenge area inclusive of indoor and outdoor spaces with random static and mobile objects of interest that must be identified and neutralised accordingly.

The robot design features a 6-wheel differential steer system for all terrain traverse ability, a PC104 control computer, GPS and IMU for localisation purposes as well as a pan/tilt turret orientating a laser scanner and colour camera for environmental sensing.

Each robot carries a wireless modem for communication and transfer of data.

Even though the robots will be designed to operate autonomously, control may be coordinated from the ground control tower.

A user-friendly Human Machine Interface (HMI) enables interaction with the robots through camera view, display of the updated mapping data and command interface controls.

For safety purposes, an E-stop switch will be incorporated in the design that imposes an immediate stop to the robot’s actions at any time.

The system incorporates highly customised Maxon brushless DC motors with integrated gearhead and encoder.

Full speed, torque and position control is also enabled by Maxon EPOS position control units.

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