Sparkfun AVC Thoughts

Sparkfun has recently announced that the 2014 Autonomous Vehicle Contest (AVC) will be held on June 21, 2014.

The AVC, as its name implies, is a contest where contestants build vehicles that must navigate a course autonomously. That is, no input or guidance from a driver or pilot. I've been following the AVC for a couple of years now and have thought about entering before. This year I think I just might do it. The STM32F4DISCOVERY board appears to be a perfect platform to build upon for the contest. That board, a few sensors and a whole lot of code sounds like just the ticket.

There are two categories of competition: ground and air. I'm not yet ready to build a self-piloting drone. But a self-driving model car is probably a good stretch goal for me to build on my embedded skills. I've already starting writing a code library to write debug output to a serial port. I'm planning on picking up a BlueFruit bluetooth link from Adafruit to stream the debug spew back to my laptop. The F4 also features an embedded USB host port, so I'll write debugging info to a file on a USB thumb drive as well. With a high clock speed (180MHz), lots of Flash ROM (1MB) and RAM (192K), and plenty of I/O, it should be a generous platform on which to build.

I guess I should revisit my series on setting up a FOSS cross compiler toolchain and figure out how to configure it for the STM32F4 series.