[mowbot] Goals

robin nospam at acm.org
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 14:52:48 +0100

Monta Elkins wrote:
> Goals are most important now.
> My 'list' consists of proposed consecutive goals...
> or maybe an impelementation methodology.
Sorry for the confusion in terminology here. In earlier discussions
we were using ``goal'' when perhaps we meant ``requirements'' to
be imposed on the finished Mowbot. This was later reformulated to
include ``behaviours'' the Mowbot should exhibit. It is defining these
requirements and behaviours I put first. Once we have that done, we can
look at the ``tasks'' that we need to be perform in order to design the
``subsystems'' of the Mowbot that will fulfil the requirements and carry
out the behaviours.

I would say that your list was mostly tasks, and that it is still too
early to think about that. We need to make sure that we are aware of all
the things the Mowbot is expected to do and all the constraints people
are going to impose. Going back through past posts, I think the list
of requirements mentioned so far includes:
* autonomous (person doesn't have to direct it)
* self-maintaining (empties/sharpens/recharges itself)
* no need to explicitly define boundaries
* support for cutting of multiple areas without re-programming
* safe (to people, pets, plants and property)
* reliable (avoids damage to itself)
* can be built by hobbyist from off-the-shelf parts in a few days
* quiet and inoffensive to neighbours
* environmentaly safe
* must cut 4000m^2 (~1 acre) in 260000s (~3 days)
* looks cute and has a winning personality. ;-)

Please suggest your modifications, additions, deletions or agreement with
this list. From past experience, I know it's impossible to set a deadline
for discussion, but we should aim to have this nailed down in the next
week or two so we can move on.

I don't know if there is a very clear distinction at this level, but
here are the proposed behaviours listed separately:
* cut grass when it is long enough
* don't cut things that aren't grass
* avoid hitting things
* avoid falliing off things
* avoid getting stuck
* avoid crossing defined boundaries
* visit all parts of the accessible area in a timely fashion
* return to recharching station before battery is flat


R.M.O'Leary <robin nospam at acm.org> +44 973 310035  P.O. Box 20, Swansea SA2 8YB, U.K.