7/14/2003 - A Chevrolet Corvette outfitted with a sophisticated, computer-controlled steering system received the research category award in the PC/104 Embedded Consortium’s 2003 design contest. The experimental vehicle’s driver assistance programming uses a combination of Global Positioning System (GPS) information and automatic steering intervention to help drivers avoid road hazards and keeps drowsy or distracted drivers from drifting out of their lane of traffic. The system utilizes both EBX and PC/104 format embedded computer boards from VersaLogic Corp.
The converted 1997 Corvette’s steer-by-wire system uses a traditional steering wheel, but uses sensors and a high performance servomotor in place of a steering shaft. Two sensors measure the pinion angle and steering wheel angle and allow the driver to control the car normally, until it gets into trouble. VersaLogic’s VSBC-8 Pentium III single board computer and VCM-DAS-2 digital I/O module process signals from the sensors and calculate how to position the steering actuator. The speed and accuracy of the system duplicates the response of normal mechanically-linked steering. Over 100 hours of on-the-road driving has been logged in testing the system.
Paul Yih, a graduate research assistant at Stanford University, is responsible for the design. According to Yih, using the PC/104 form factor computer greatly simplified the task of powering the computer from the car battery. “PC/104 modules have proven to be reliable components that, due to their compact dimensions and plug-in functionality, are easy to use,” comments Yih, “In our experience with this and other research projects, we could almost always find a solution using PC/104 devices.”
The design contest winners, including Yih, were announced April 24, 2003 at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco, CA. The PC/104 Embedded Consortium’s design contest included categories for commercial/industrial, commercial/military, and research projects.
About VersaLogic Corporation
A leading supplier of industrial computers since 1976, VersaLogic focuses on high-quality board-level products for embedded applications. Product lines include EBX, PC/104, PC/104-Plus, and STD 32 Bus. VersaLogic designs products for high reliability and long-term availability, and offers customization and support services for OEMs. An industry-wide survey recently rated the company a “Platinum” level embedded board vendor (2002 and 2003 VDC studies).
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