Every year, Clearpath Robotics holds a Hack Day – an entire workday dedicated to pet robotics projects to push and challenge ourselves. Numerous teams come together to draft and build out their ideas from the ground up and then present them to the entire Clearpath team. This is the chance to test out fun experiments in a supportive and constructive environment. This year, however, one team decided to stick close to our Canadian roots.

For Hack Day 2021, a team presented an autonomous ice resurfacer using Husky UGV equipped with our GPS Waypoint Navigation package. This outdoor navigation package allows a mobile robot like the Husky to traverse a predefined route of GPS waypoints.  Its area coverage capabilities make it perfect for an ice resurfacing application.

What exactly does that “area coverage” mean?

Well, area coverage planning is the task of determining a path or mission for the robot to pass through all points of an area or volume without colliding with any obstacles. Solutions to this problem have applications in many fields such as lawn mowing, snow plowers, demining, agriculture and in our case, ice resurfacing. 

The Clearpath Robotics area coverage algorithm augments the existing GPS navigation software solution by generating missions that cover the desired area. Our solution works by receiving the GPS coordinates of the corner points of a desired polygon area and distance between and orientation of covering rows from the user and then producing a set simple line with non-overlapping motion trajectories for the robot that cover all points in the target area.

Example of corner points

Generated motions converted into a GPS navigation mission

While the  GPS navigation autonomy system handles avoiding dynamic obstacles, static known obstacles (like buildings, equipment, etc) can be defined as an exclusion area for our area coverage system. As such, our solutions satisfy all of the standard requirements for coverage path planning defined in the literature.

We certainly love all the creativity that we see on Hack Days and also look forward to the next one. You can check out our Autonomous Ice Resurfacer in action below!

 

To learn more about Husky UGV, you can visit our website here.

To learn more about our GPS Waypoint Navigation software package, you can visit our website here.

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