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Evolta’s next challenge announced: Le Mans 24hrs

EVOLTA-LEMANS-header

In early August 2009 at Le Mans 24 hours endurance race in France, Panasonic’s Evolta robot will attempt the longest distance traveled by a radio-controlled car.  If successful, this will be the 2nd World Record earned by the robot, alongside its climb of the Grand Canyon in 2008.

Evolta was originally designed for rope climbing, so to perform an endurance race has required a complete redesign.  Many design options were considered, from the motors to the controls.  Should the car be remote controlled with an onboard camera?  What about a line following function seen in other robots?  Ultimately, it was decided to use infrared homing with the robot trailing behind a guide motorbike. Two videos of the new Evolta in action and more after the break.

Then there’s the issue of weather and other conditions.  Takahashi-san is busy planning for the adverse effects of the surprisingly windy race location, as well as the track’s assortment of hills and valleys.  Turning, braking, and going uphill will drain the batteries too, so the real challenge is how to maximize efficiency to get the most out of them.

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