Foil – Electric Vehicle 2009

This will be a collec­tion of design infor­ma­tion, videos, and photos of Foil, the autonomous device I designed and built for the Elec­tric Vehi­cle event of Science Olympiad. It won first place at the state tour­na­ment in New York, beat­ing the second-place team that went on to place #2 at the National Tour­na­ment.

Foil is designed to travel an exact distance spec­i­fied at compe­ti­tion, in the range of 5.0 to 10.0 meters, down a track as straightly as possi­ble, while modu­lat­ing its speed so that each run down the track takes exactly 45.0 seconds; no more, no less. Each of those para­me­ters can be fine-tuned at the compe­ti­tion site using an embed­ded inter­face consist­ing of a mechan­i­cal rotary encoder with a knob, push­but­tons, and an onboard LCD display. Foil is powered by a PIC24HJ128GP502 micro­con­troller, obtained from Microchip, Inc. as a free sample of their high-perfor­mance 16-bit PIC24H line, running custom C code I wrote for the Microchip C30 compiler, based off of GCC.

Foil was able to travel down a 7.6 meter long track and stop exactly on the finish line, and regu­lated its speed so that it tried to stopped 45.0 seconds after I started it. It missed this time by 0.13 seconds, for a 0.29% error. Its forward pointer, however, was about 2 millime­ters to the right and 2 millime­ters off (a 0.03% error) in finish line distance. The result­ing score is offi­cially 199.53 out of 200.

More infor­ma­tion for Foil is not yet avail­able at this time, because I have been very busy. For now, enjoy a CAD render­ing and a video of the gold-medal run at NYSSO states.

Click for full size (1920 × 1200)

Click for full size (1920 × 1200)

You can find addi­tional media at the Science Olympiad Student Center’s Image Gallery: