ZMP unveiled their latest educational robot kit, the RoboCar, on June 10th 2009. Intended for businesses and universities interested in implementing and testing autonomous systems for automobiles, but at significantly lower cost and safety risk compared to a real car. Expected benefits of the system include: initial testing of autonomous systems; car-to-car wireless communication; and a common coding environment (MATLAB / Simulink), which should lead to simple integration within embedded systems courses. Videos and more after the break.
The 1:10th scale car comes with two CCD cameras for stereo vision, several IR range finders, a gyroscopic accelerometer, and 4-wheel independent rotary encoders (tachometers). Laser Range-finder is optional. The kit comes with an AMD Geode processor running Linux or Windows at 500MHz, as well as NEC’s proprietary IMAPCAR processor, which together can handle both video feeds at 30fps.
The base model, without the flashy exterior will set you back 590,000 JPY (approx. $7000 USD). Why so expensive? The kit includes a laser range finder (typically very expensive). Including the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic body, it’s 1,290,000 JPY ($15,000 USD). One wonders if they will offer a cheaper alternative, given that an injection-molded plastic exterior should cost less than $50. Is ZMP once again pricing themselves out of their own market, as they did with their once ridiculously expensive bipedal robot NUVO?
- ZMP official site (JP/EN)
- RoboCar @ Znug Design blog
- RoboCar @ Impress Robot Watch (images & video)
- Robot Heart (ZMP blog JP)
ZMP | Impress Robot Watch