Re: [mowbot] Hello, and lots of ideas

Dave Everett (Deverett nospam at
Fri, 20 Sep 1996 22:07:25 +1000

Robin O'Leary wrote:
> This was posted to a standard Majordomo mailing list I just set up:
> ``mowbot nospam at'',

Good work setting the mailing list up Robin, it's going to make things
operate much more smoothly.

> To help structure the discussions, let me try to cut the problem up in
> to smaller pieces.
> There are five subsystems which need to be part of any robot design:
> intelligence
> movement
> sensors
> effectors
> power

I'm not sure I entirely agree with this decomposition. The one you've
would be useful for designing a motorised computer, but this project
will be much
more than that.

Any or all of the subsystems listed may become part of the finished
project, but
they will not be subsystems as I will explain. The project is to design
build an autonomous lawnmower, and I think it's more helpful to think of
as a single item rather than decomposing it into pieces yet. We should
work forward
from that point. I'm sure this sounds pedantic, but it works in Research
development based companies that develop similarly multi-disciplinary

Firstly we need to determine what we expect to achieve as a finished
and then decompose each part. The danger I see with this mailing list is
that it
could become anarchic, with everyone talking about any element of the
without and formal agenda.

If we take it a stage at a time, discussing each element to a
conclusion (reviewing later as other elements are implemented) we should
able to achieve the goal.

I'm willing to donate web space for the specifications, drawings, FAQ
etc as
we progress.

Having just extolled the virtues of a structured agenda, let me digress
to address
an issue that has been raised by most posters to this project, namely
I agree that safety would be a prime prerequisite for a commercially
available autonomous lawnmower, but I don't think it is of any
importance at
this stage, what we need to do is prove the concept before we concern
with the realities of consumer safety. I guess I'm concerned that this
could get bogged down in endless discussions and experiments to make the
thing safe for the stupidist of humans, and that would halt all the
interesting stuff :-)

Now having spilt my guts, let me introduce myself. My name is Dave
I am a freelance electronic/software engineer living in Australia. I
consult to several electronic product development companies. I have
in Analog & digital electronics and have used Motorola, Microchip and
microcontrollers in many commercial products. I been interested in
for about 25 years, and have constructed about half a dozen robots of
varying complexity.

Dave Everett.