Meet YardBot

YardBot CAD renderRobots. They’ve been around for a while, but thanks to the quickening pace of technology progress, they’re only starting to hit their stride. I built LEGO Mindstorms robots many years ago, and working for a robotics company was a dream of mine back when I started university. Now that dream is a possibility.

Meet YardBot.

Many industries like to see candidates with a portfolio of past projects, and engineering is no exception. The company I’m aiming for has mentioned in a past interview that their most successful candidates have something to show as a demonstration of their skills. That was late last year, so since then I’ve been working on the design of a robot (don’t let the fact this is the first blog post fool you). I’m going to use this space to document the challenges and victories of the process, both for my benefit as a reference, and for anyone else who might be in a similar position.

The goal is to build a 4WD vehicle I can control from different methods (RC, iPhone, video game joystick) but also have it work autonomously. That means learning about path finding, tracking distances and motor control systems. My hope is that the design is such that I can add different tools and implements to showcase different hehaviours (add a shovel and I can plow the driveway from inside) and learn how everything interacts together.

The end goal is not only that I have something that can do some of my household chores, but also something I can drive into an interview and show off. That’s quite a ways off in the future so stick around for more updates!

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