I have had a product idea for years that would operate in the snow. Ever since I first heard about the Sparkfun AVC contest and learned about the Arduino I knew that I wanted to develop a tracked vehicle. I have been working with InspectorBots to develop a small version. The prototype is now up an running.

Let me tell you a little more about it and how I built it. Since my background is mechanical engineering I designed the treads and body myself, with input from Chris at InspectorBots. Overall, it is 12″ wide x 14″ long x 4 1/4″ tall. It has two possibilities for motors: 2 540 motors and transmission from RC4WD or a P60 gearbox and motor from BaneBots. It has a camera and headlight that rotates on a 180 degree servo. The headlight is switchable on and off from the RC controller. I used the Sparkfun Luxeon high power LEDs and the associated Lens.

I designed the vehicle to be able to go straight up – assuming it has enough friction. It uses a 4-channel RC controller right now and has a video screen at the user side to be able to see what the robot sees.

Ultimately I plan to add an Arduino and a video shield. I’ll be adding more components from Sparkfun to make it Autonomous capable and add data from sensors to the video for user viewing.

I’ll be adding more about this soon!