You are on page 1of 13

Autonomous Container

Delivery Project
Final Report Group 13

1. Executive Summary
The purpose of this project is to produce a vehicle with the ability to pick up a
deliver cargo at unknown heights and locations safely after receiving a signal
from a control module. Our team has worked collaboratively to create a vehicle
that is able to perform multiple operations to satisfy this purpose.
We created a vehicle with a chassis suspending a cargo pickup system made
mainly of plywood, as it was economical and allowed for increased robustness.
The pickup mechanism consists of two boxes, of which one box slides back and
forth to catch and release the cargo. The sliding box is achieved through a simple
pulley system made out of rubber wheels attached to a 9V motor. As we
The cargo pickup mechanism and the vertical/horizontal motion function
independently and therefore require 2 separate breadboards and
microprocessors, each powered by a 9V battery.
Key Risks: Burn out, loss and damage of components, injury and electric shock
During final testing, the vehicle was able to perform individual functions such as
the vertical motion, collection of the egg and horizontal motion. However, the
vehicle was not able to deliver the cargo safely and accurately and the detection
of the signal from the control module was not robust.

Table of Contents
1 Executive Summary page 1
2 Introduction page 3
3 Final Design and Implementation page
3. 1 Electrical systems page
3. 1. 1 Sound detection page
3.2 Mechanical systems page
4 Evaluation of Design - page
5 Analysis of Final Testing Results page
6 Key Lessons Learned page
7 Effectiveness of Organisational Support page
8 Conclusion
9 References

2. Introduction
Must include a problem definition. Should begin with motivation and background
to the problem, and needs to talk (in general terms) about some of the key
problems raised by the design brief, during the development of the design, and
during testing. This is then a lead-in to discussing the proposed solutions (in the
next section). Should explain what questions the reader can expect to find
answered in the remainder of the report. Can include any other discussion
concerning motivation for the project or design, or background to the project
work. Dont start discussing details of the design itself or what was done during
the project this comes later in the report the introduction is for explaining the
design problem (and sub-problems) in as much detail as you can.
Around 1-2 pages.

The problem was defined as such:

To design and build a delivery vehicle that will be able to travel autonomously
along guide rails spanning 2040mm including cross-bars 40mm from either end,
to transport fragile cargo from an unknown pick-up location to a delivery location
1600mm away at a height of 655mm below the vehicle. The vehicle should be
able to detect and avoid obstacles, no more than a height of 350mm from the
delivery plane; between pick-up and the drop-off points whilst causing no
damage to the cargo. The vehicle should be programmed to activate sonar
signals from an unmodified control module at the pick-up and delivery points in
order for their horizontal positions to be detected and pin-pointed. Materials used
in the final construction of the vehicle should cost no more than $80, whilst
testing and prototyping will have no limit. The delivery of the cargo should be
both quick and accurate whilst the system must be robust enough to detect and
receive the signals from the control module. The design of the vehicle will be
unique, innovative and aesthetically appealing.
From the problem definition, several key problems were extracted and raised.
These would need to be solved in order to facilitate a successful solution:

3. Final Design and Implementation

Give all of the main details of your final design, both at the conceptual and
detailed design levels. Take care to describe your design concisely but in as
much technical precision as you can. As explained at the beginning of the
course, the output of the design process is a specification, and it should be
possible to pass this specification to another engineer (who is unfamiliar with
your work) who would then be able to construct exactly the same solution. Be
precise about giving quantities, in their correct units, for everything. Show how
different subsystems are interfaced, if you have subsystems. Explain/show how
each mechanical part is constructed (including precise drawings/sketches with
dimensions), or for electrical designs, give circuit diagrams complete with
component names and values.
Your precise and comprehensive technical specification, and the
reasoning behind the choices you make, will be the most heavily
weighted aspect of the report during marking.
Somewhere in this section, you might want to talk about whether your design
changed from the design proposal, and if so, why.
Somewhere in the section, spend some time discussing the evolution of your
design, especially why you made the decisions you did. The final design and
construction can be thought of as a series of decisions, each of which has a
reason. The reasons are a big part of what is being marked here. If your reasons
involve references, then cite them correctly as needed. Talk about how you
prototyped the design. What problems did you have to overcome as part of your
final design? What took the most effort and why?
If you have huge amounts of detailed technical material, organise it cleverly
e.g. put some into an appendix and refer to the appendix in the text. This way
you can keep the flow of the report and include all the detail.
Dont talk about results yet. You can talk about any preliminary testing you did
and how this influenced your design.
You must give the total cost of the final design (using estimates if you need to).
Pictures, photos, diagrams and sketches are great in this section, but please be
aware that on their own these do not constitute a specification. Make sure
you label them correctly and refer to them in the text, and make sure that
pictures or sketches add to rather than replace detailed drawings or schematics
of the design. If you cant think of a way to refer to a diagram in the text, then it
probably shouldnt be there.
Finally, take care not to repeat your design proposal. The purpose of the final
report is different to a design proposal. Keep this in mind.
Around 5-7 pages.

3. 1. Electrical Subsystem
In the whole, there are two Arduino used including a Uno and a
Mega. The first one is responsible for car moving and the vertical
motion while the Mega acts as a controller of the horizontal motion
which refers to Collection and Delivery Mechanism.
3. 1. 1. Sound Detection
In order to communicate the location of pickup and dropoff for the vehicle, a
sound detection system was required to receive the sound signal from the
control module and output to the microcontroller depending on the frequency of
the signal received.
An electret microphone was used to detect the sound signal emitted from the
control module. This signal was fed into an amplification stage consisting of two
LM741 op-amps connected in series. These integrated circuits amplified the
small output of the microphone to a sufficiently high voltage that could be
analysed. Two op-amps were used in order to overcome signal clipping that
occurred as a result of the gain on the op-amp being too large (approximately
x100 calculated
by the formula in Figure

V out =V


( )
Figure Gain across a closed loop op-amp [1]

The gain on each op-amp was stepped down to about x10 to prevent clipping,
whilst still maintaining the final level of amplification as shown in Figure

Figure The amplification module of the microphone circuit. The gain across each op-amp is

To decode the signal frequency, we planned to construct a pair of band-pass

filters and comparators; however it was highly unreliable and dropped out at

high frequencies. An alternative solution to use a LN567 tone decoder was

decided upon, which improved reliability and simplicity of the design. Two pairs
of the tone decoders were setup in parallel to allow only the two frequencies
(3000Hz and 5000Hz) of the control module to produce a digital 5V output from
the respective tone decoder [2].
3. 1. 2. Microcontroller
An Arduino Uno microcontroller was used as a central control device to process
signals from various sensors and output the necessary signals to other
components. Microcontrollers are low cost and low power integrated circuits that
are reliable and easier to implement than discrete logic gates. The Arduino board
allowed for easy implementation of analog and digital voltage inputs and outputs
through the programming language that offered high level functions.
3. 1. 3. Motor control

In total, there are three motors used in the vehicle, which are for car moving,
vertical motion and horizontal motion respectively. To achieve the common aim
of reversing the direction of them, an IC whose type is L293D is used as HBridge, which is an electronic circuit that enables voltage to go through either
direction in order to allow DC motor to run forwards and backwards. To control
motors, the IC (L293D) that can control two motors at the same time, could be
easily connected to Arduino microcontroller which could be encoded to receive
inputs and output orders to motors. The way to connect an IC to Arduino is
displayed below (figure
The table showed below (figure describes how an IC can work with

Figure A schematic diagram of H-Bridge.

Figure The pin layout for L293D.

Pin 1

Pin 2

Pin 7





Turn clockwise




Turn anti-clockwise










Not applicable

Not applicable


Figure The truth table showing the output logic.

As can be seen from the pin layout and the truth table above, pin1, 2 and 7 are
all PWM pins of Arduino. For this example, pin 1 is connected to the enable pin,
pin 2 and 7 are linked to input 1 and 2. For the coding part, sentences below are
written for the Arduino to control the motor, which matches the HIGH HIGH
LOWsituation of the truth table above.
(bullet point plz!~)digitalWrite(pin1, HIGH);
digitalWrite(pin2, HIGH);
digitalWrite(pin7, LOW);
As for controlling the spinning speed of the motor, digitalWrite of the enable
pin could be changed in into analogWrite and HIGH\LOW of the enable pin would
be a value from 0-250 which stands for a range of speed (250 is equal to HIGH).
For practical usage, testing is necessary for the selection of the value.
There are two key challenges of motor control. The first one is to build a correct
circuit on the breadboard, including a proper connection to Arduino. The second
one is to write a valid and practical program for Arduino to control the motor
according to actual requirements.
3. 1. 4. Vertical Movement

The core component of vertical movement is a winch with a gear motor to move
the collection and delivery mechanism up and down. To achieve this aim, HBridge is applied to drive this winch. Since the exact length remains unknown
and any manual control should be avoided, a button switch is attached to the
bottom of the grabbing system which is a box to stop the motor. Once the button
is pressed, it means the box has reached the platform and the motor would stop.
To receive the pressed signal, this button switch is connected to the Arduino by
using digitalRead(buttonPin). After the signal pressed is received, Arduino will
send a stop order to the motor, using digitalWrite which is mentioned above.
By estimating the time for collecting eggs, a timedelay function of Arduino is
used, which delays enough time for the egg collection before going up.
3. 1. 5. Collection and Delivery Mechanism
Apart from the vertical function that the button switch exerts, it is actually
connected to both Arduino. Once it is pressed, the vertical motor will stop, also,
the horizontal motor will run. In order to stop the horizontal motor, a magnetic
sensor (reed switch) and a magnet are attached to the side of two boxes (see
Figure???? The sketch of it Tings part). The motor keeps spinning until the
magnet sensor senses the magnet (e.g. it is open until it senses a magnet and
then it is closed), which means two boxes are closed and the collection is done.
To receive the signal of the magnetic sensor, it is connected to the Arduino Mega.
By using digitalRead(sensorPin), Arduino is able to know if the magnet is sensed
and when to send the stop signal to the motor.

3. 2. Physical Specifications
3. 2. 1. Chassis
3. 2. 2. Horizontal Movement
3. 2. 3. Pickup and Delivery Mechanism

4. Evaluation of the Design

In this section, describe any experiments or tests you performed to verify or
evaluate your design before the final testing. Include as much detail as possible
about why you conducted the experiment, what the experimental
methods/configuration was, what the results were and what conclusions were
drawn from them.
Around 2-4 pages.
Throughout the design process, several experiments and tests were performed to
evaluate the design and determine whether changes were required.
4. 1. Sound Detection
Aim: To test the effectiveness of the sound detection system in distinguishing
between the two signals from the control module and filter out background noise.
Detecting the sound emitted from the control module was a vital function in the
system; it ensured that the pickup mechanism would operate appropriately.
To test that the sound circuit could effectively filter out background noise and
correctly activate when given the operating frequencies (1900Hz and 5600Hz), a
signal generator was connected to the control module speaker so that the
generated frequency could be adjusted and an LED was set up at the output of
each tone decoder. The microphone was given varying frequencies, with the
output from the LEDs shown in Table 1.
Frequency (Hz)

Both LEDs were unlit
LED 1 flickered
LED 1 lit up continuously
LED 1 flickered
Both LEDs were unlit
LED 2 flickered
LED 2 lit up continuously
LED 2 flickered
Both LEDs were unlit

Table 1 Results of testing the sound detection circuit with varying


The circuit performed as required; only producing an output when the operating
frequencies were played. The bands were sufficiently large enough to allow
frequencies slightly above and below those required to also produce an output,
to cater for the inaccuracy of the signal from the control module.
However, the band for the 1900Hz frequency was smaller than the band for the
5600Hz frequency and the upper and lower limits of the bands were not
balanced around the centre frequency. The capacitors around the tone decoders
were adjusted accordingly as a result to correct these issues.

5. Analysis of Final Testing Results

OK, now you can talk about the final testing.
Start by stating the final results. This must be done with respect to the design
objectives, as listed in the project brief (this is how a client would evaluate your
solution). Which objectives were achieved, and to what extent ? Where
objectives were not fully achieved, what do you think would have been required
to fully achieve them ?
Then, discuss how every aspect of your design contributed to the final testing
result. You might want to also discuss the design in terms of innovation,
simplicity, robustness, ease of manufacture, and styling (also assessed at the
final testing).
In retrospect, were the teams design analyses (from the design proposal, and
subsequent work) correct in the final testing ? e.g. if the team thought that
speed should be prioritised over accuracy, was this the correct decision in the
end ? Scan through your proposal and compare your earlier design decisions with
the final outcome. What did you learn from acceptance testing ? Did the
experiments/testing you did before the final test prove helpful during the final
testing ?
You can also discuss limitations of your design that were not obvious from the
final testing.
Around 2-3 pages

6. Key Lessons Learned

This is over to you: what did you learn ? how did you learn it ? (e.g. research,
lectures, reading, experimenting, lab work, assignment work etc). Try to be as
specific as possible. Did your project go to plan ? (look back over your project
plan) Did the final design look like the original ideas ? If not, what was different
in practise ? How did the assessments go; did you learn anything new from these
? Was the team adequately prepared for the final testing ? (if not, why not ?) Has
your approach to design/engineering/teamwork/projects/communication etc
changed since you began this course ? What was the most important aspect of
the project ? If you were doing it all again, what would you do differently ? Were
the project management tools you used helpful ? What would have been better ?

Compulsory: What did you learn about operating in a team ? Were the team
exercises (first mentor meeting, peer assessment) helpful ? Did everyone
contribute (be completely honest here), and if not what did you do about it
(again, be honest) ? What could have helped your team to perform better ?

Be sure to get all the teams input on this section. Everyone will have learned
something different from the course.
Around 2 pages.

7. Effectiveness of Organisational Support

During the project, you will have used a number of different resources. Discuss
how effective each one was, in particular those offered by the course itself and
its staff. Try to think through every stage of the design and every week of the
This section is compulsory, is read and is taken seriously by course staff.
Constructive criticism is welcome. This is not just an academic exercise in navelgazing. Industrial projects also require organisational support, which can often be
non-ideal. Companies also need constructive feedback on how they can improve
project support, if they are to grow and succeed. Around 1 page.
PDF notes
Lab Exercises
Lab tools
8. Conclusion
Summarise your final design (1-3 sentences).

Discuss how successfully the final design addressed the design problem,
referring to key aspects or innovations in the design that you feel were
significant, and referring to how your design performed in final testing (and in
any preliminary testing, if you want) 5-6 sentences.
Summarise the outcomes of the design project (1-2 sentences).
The conclusion is not a vague set of sentences that attempt to make the reader
feel good about the report; the conclusions should build directly on the main
ideas and/or results of the report, and should match with the executive summary
in terms of these ideas.

9. References

You must cite references in the text of the report. A list of references at the
end of the report without this will not attract full marks. Very few references, or
references with details missing (e.g. year, publisher or place of publication (for
books), or date of access (for URLs)), will also not attract full marks for

[1] (2014) Operational Amplifier, Op Amp Gain & Gain

Equations, Available at:
(Accessed: 20/5/2014).
[2] Texas Instruments (2013) LM567/LM567C Tone Decoder, Available at: (Accessed: 20/5/2014).
[3] (2006) H-Bridges: Theory and Practice, Available at: (Accessed: