[mowbot] Agenda

robin nospam at acm.org
Wed, 2 Oct 1996 03:07:05 +0100

Here is the first Secretary's Report. I shall be keeping track of
what seems to have been agreed and point out proposals that seem to
have been overlooked as time goes by. Whatever my own views may be,
I hope to keep these reports factual and representative. Please let me
know if you think I have failed in this.

Many posts have requested having agenda that we stick to.
We have made a start in this direction, with the current proposal being:
* Organisation
- Appointment of ``chairman'' of the meeting
- Appointment of the secretary
* Legal
* Requirements (Goals)
* Timetable
* Specification
There are no further agenda items to cover experiment, prototyping or
construction. Presumably these will be added once the structure of the
specification item has been worked out in more detail.

If we deal with these items in turn:

* Organisation

- Appointment of ``chairman'' of the meeting
Ray Skarratt is the manager of the Majordomo list and has been
proposed and seconded as Chairman.

- Appointment of the secretary
Robin O'Leary is acting secretary.

* Legal
Ray has proposed that he adds an automatic licence to copy to posts
to the mailing list. This proposal is supported and so far unopposed.
Robin has proposed that the GNU public licence be adopted. This
has received no comment.

* Requirements
This is the agenda item that has received the most discussion so far.
The relevant topics are:

- cost
Consensus seems to be a maximum of US$600 per ``production'' Mowbot.
A target budget of US$500 would seem to find general favour.

- goals
Analysis of the considerable discussion on ``goals'' will be the subject
of a subsequent post.

- safety
After several very rigorous safety requirements proposed in early posts,
concern seems to have diminished, perhaps in the light of discussion
on the speed and nature of the cutting device. Nevertheless, the
feeling is that injury, even contributory injury, must be prevented.

* Timetable
- Those in the Northern hemisphere have a completion deadline imposed by
nature of next Spring.
- It is widely agreed that the agenda and goals should be finalised
urgently; the current proposal is for this to be
done by 8th October, but such a target seems to be elusive.
- There has been no more detailed discussion of times for project stages.

* Specification
The majority of posts to the mailing list have dealt with the
specification and design of various Mowbot parts. Unfortunately,
with so little structure in the agenda to guide discussion and no clear
fixed requirements against which proposals may be validated, posts have
often been unfocused and ranged widely over many aspects of specification.
The topics that have received attention so far can be loosely grouped
as follows:
boundary - how to define and detect the limits of Mowbot's world
charging - how to get charge in to the battery
chassis - design of Mowbot's body
control - algorithms, behaviours, strategy
cutter - design of grass cutter
location - design of absolute position location system
micro - choice of microcontroller
motors - design constraints and available motor information
neat - ideas that might not make it, but would be great!
parts - how to divide up the project
power - design constraints and available battery/solar cell info
sensors - various: rangefinding, grass height etc
These seem to have a lot in common with the topics proposed by Monta:
Mobile Platform (chassis/motors)
Microprocessor Control (control/micro)
Simple Pattern Navigation
Recharging Behavior (control/charging)
Boundary/Position Recognition (boundary/location)
Mowing Algorithms
Advanced Topics

I have deliberately kept the discussion of goals for a later date. I would
like to ensure that the agenda *itself* receives adequate consideration
and approval before getting too deeply in to just one of its items.


Copyright (C) 1996 R.M.O'Leary <robin nospam at acm.org>  All rights reserved.
For licence to copy, see http://dragon.swansea.linux.org.uk/mowbot/