GROUND DRONE PROJECT: A VERSATILE MOBILE ROBOTIC PLATFORM project video thumbnail
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$20,632 pledged of $25,000 goal
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By Transcend Robotics
$20,632 pledged of $25,000 goal
backers

About

Ground Drone is the most versatile and affordable stair-climbing robotic platform. The biggest challenge limiting wide-scale adoption of robots in any home, business, or natural terrain environment is lack of mobility, whether it be stairs or other obstacles. And unlike other solutions that only the military can afford, this robot is much cheaper to build, moves much faster, has greater agility, and doesn’t require complex controls to operate.

The Kickstarter campaign aims to bring this innovation to the hands of enthusiasts and hobbyists who will build their own projects on top the robotic mobility platform. For example, early adopters of the platform utilize Ground Drone to enter robotic competitions and teach educational robotics courses.

As seen on:

Editor's Choice Blue Ribbon Winner
Editor's Choice Blue Ribbon Winner

Ground-drone : noun \grau̇nd-drōn\

1 : An unmanned ground vehicle with superior urban and rural mobility. 

2: A ground robotic vehicle that uses Articulated Traction Control Technology as a means of mobility.

We want to lower the cost of ground based drone development for hobbyists and roboticists alike. Ground Drone is a highly mobile robotic platform capable of stair-climbing.  You add value with your own control electronics and customizations to create the project or product of your dreams.

Help us bring this technology to everyone!

Here are some of our projects to spark your imagination . . .

Gopro Mount and LED Lights
Gopro Mount and LED Lights
 

 The Story

The toughest obstacle in building a robotic project is the chassis. A lot of us want to focus on the cool electronics and programming components. However, the available chassis are either too small, or ultra expensive. Further more, current available robotic platform kits can't leave a controlled environment.

Obstacles

In order for a robot to be useful in our world, it must climb stairs. This is an extremely hard problem and as a result, makers spend most of their time trying to solve this problem instead of focusing on their creative and innovative ideas.

We have solved this problem at an affordable cost!

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THE VALUE - 

Articulated Traction Control Chassis

We provide technology that avoids extra actuators, reduces part complexity, simplifies electrical wiring, and simplifies mobility programming by incorporating the intelligence in the Articulated Joint System.

A chassis overview: Chassis segments A, B, and C are joined by specially calibrated joint panels (inner parts) with optional tread housing panels (outer parts).

Overview
Overview

Dimensions

32"L x 18"W x 8.5"H

Lots of Extra Space for Electronics!

The three boxes remain primarily empty (450+ sq in empty). Here is where you put whatever motors and actuators you want!

Section C Empty
Section C Empty

REWARDS

Sticker & T-shirt Ground Drone Project Logo:

Ground Drone Project (Black) Logo
Ground Drone Project (Black) Logo
Ground Drone Project (White) Logo
Ground Drone Project (White) Logo

Developer's Chassis Kit

Level II Chassis Kit

Level III Kit Includes the following off the shelf items ...

12V, 3000 mAh Ni-Cad battery x 1

Battery charger x 1

152 RPM 12V Pitsco motors/hubs x 6

A complete set of Lynx Motion tank treads x 8 packs

A complete set of Lynx Motion Cogs x 14

DX6e R/C transceiver and receiver x 1

Sabertooth 25x2 Driver Board x 1

ARTI Chassis Hardware x 1

Arti Chassis x 1

If you have questions of how to replace these items with parts of your own, just shoot me a message and I'll let you know what could work!

Inside tread housing:

Undressed tread housing
Undressed tread housing

CHASSIS KIT FILL-OUT COSTS

All B.O.M parts will be available through either Amazon, Mcmaster-Carr or Lynxmotion.  You can get a ground drone rolling for as little as $200.00 more, or you can upgrade the kit as far as you want to take it. The price is dependent upon on the electronics and motion systems you choose. Our website will have success stories to guide you on getting started with your kit! 

Who's making this happen?

Phillip Walker - Ground Drone project leader and lead engineer. He has a BS in Computer Science from Fordham University.

Dan Barlow - master manufacturer and engineer who studied physics at Hampden-Sydney College.

Alvin Wong - technology evangelist for the Ground Drone project. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Cornell University and MS in Engineering Mgmt from Stanford.

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 ULTIMATE REACH GOAL @ $75K:

AFFORDABLE PRO TANK TREADS!

We are talking about 2" to 3" wide, 15" to 32" circular length with grippy material and paddles. We believe we have a solution to this problem and will produce an affordable commercial grade robotic tread system if we reach $75K. But there's still a lot of work to do and the extra money will help us improve our product and in turn backers will have first access.

Checkout our prototypes! We made these from a 3D printed mold! This was continuously molded, no alligator teeth, glue or threading involved.  

See through view. Internal ribs shown.
See through view. Internal ribs shown.
Cog
Cog
Full view - black
Full view - black

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TECHNICAL DETAILS BELOW -

Modular Design for Fluid Traversal

The platform's sectional design allows it to articulate over obstacles high, low, and complex. 

3 Section Chassis
3 Section Chassis

STAIR CLIMBING CYCLE

The Ground Drone design uses a modular system with suspension joints to flexibly articulate up and over a stair-case with constant traction applied to the surface. 

Checkout the cycle below to see how a ground drone climbs!

Cycles A through D
Cycles A through D
Cycles E through G
Cycles E through G
Cycle H
Cycle H

 HOLE & DEPRESSION TRAVERSAL

Ground Drones excel in getting in or out of spaces!

Depression Traversal
Depression Traversal

 MOUND TRAVERSAL

Real terrain offers all sorts of mound-like obstacles including fallen trees, dirt piles, rocks and more. The ground drone design attacks these obstacles allowing you more freedom of motion. 

Mound Traversal
Mound Traversal

 Scaling the Design

If you want to make a smaller or larger drone, no problem! Just scale the chassis sections smaller or larger while retaining the ratio.   Reuse your joint panels!

Section ratios
Section ratios

PLUG AND PLAY

If you want to remove or add a section go ahead! Simply customize to your needs by connecting two joints together to extend the platform to various sizes. 

Two section
Two section

OMNI-DIRECTIONAL

Add another triangle unit to the back and viola, an omni-directional ground drone!

Omni-directional
Omni-directional

JOINT CONNECTIONS

A suspension shock pushes each section down and forward keeping the drone in constant contact with the surface for maximum traction. Play around with the angles for all sorts of obstacles tall and short!

Risks and challenges

We have tested our production methods and are confident that we can build what we have promised.

Our suppliers have been negotiated and are on standby to provide the materials we need.

We plan to fulfill the orders ourselves but have a strategy in case of unexpectedly large demand.

That said, there will inevitably be minor problems along the way such as the ones that have already been solved by successfully executing smaller scale runs before launching this Kickstarter.

THANK YOU!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A BIG THANK YOU and your name added to our patron's list on the community website.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A Ground Drone Project laptop / bumper sticker with the Ground Drone Project logo. Your name also added to our patron's list on the community website!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You get a Ground Drone project t-shirt touting "Does your robot climb stairs?" and project logo. Your name also added to our patron's list on the community website!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    GROUND DRONE GEAR: You get the T-shirt, sticker and name on the patron's wall.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    INSTRUCTIONS & BOM: Be the first to receive the technical documentation, assembly instructions and bill of materials to build your own ARTI from scratch!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $199 or more About $199

    SEGMENT A KIT:
    Chassis Segment A
    Segment A Joint Panels
    Segment A Tread Panels
    Tread and Cogs plus mounting hardware

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    EARLY ADOPTER -DEVELOPER'S CHASSIS KIT: Includes the three fabricated core boxes and articulated joint system, with instructions/BOM.
    You provide drive and electronics of your design.

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    Pledge $325 or more About $325

    DEVELOPER'S CHASSIS KIT: Missed the Early Adopter Reward? This kit includes the three fabricated core boxes and articulated joint system, with instructions/BOM.
    You provide drive and electronics of your design.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    EARLY ADOPTER - Level II CHASSIS: Includes the Developer's Chassis Kit plus our tread housing panels and the hardware you need to assemble it, with instructions/BOM. You supply electronics/drive and treads/cogs.

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    Pledge $525 or more About $525

    Level II CHASSIS: Includes the Developer's Chassis Kit plus our tread housing panels and the hardware you need to assemble it, with instructions/BOM. You supply electronics/drive and treads/cogs.

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    Pledge $2,100 or more About $2,100

    EARLY ADOPTER - Level III DIY: Includes a complete chassis, hardware, electronics, treads/cogs, RC controller and instructions/BOM. Simply assemble and run!

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    Pledge $2,200 or more About $2,200

    Level III DIY: Includes a complete chassis, hardware, electronics, treads/cogs, RC controller and instructions/BOM. Simply assemble and run!

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    EARLY ADOPTER MASTER CLASS: Be the first to receive a fully assembled ground drone. Includes complete chassis, electronics, remote controller and hardware. You will receive the drone in 3 pieces and it won't take more than 30 minutes of screw and bolt tightening. 3 hours of phone support included.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,100 or more About $3,100

    MASTER CLASS: Be the first to receive a fully assembled ground drone. Includes complete chassis, electronics, remote controller and hardware. You will receive the drone in 3 pieces and it won't take more than 30 minutes of screw and bolt tightening. 3 hours of phone support included.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    MEET AND GREET: Includes an assembled Master Class ground drone. Receive the ground drone personally when you come visit the warehouse where the drones are created. You also receive the tele-presence experience, t-shirt and sticker rewards automatically.

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    HOT ROD SPECIAL: you will receive: One complete ground drone customized with your choice of color anodizing and with your name or any requested text engraved in the chassis. One Level II chassis kit. Meet and greet at the warehouse. Phone support for 4 hours per month for two months. Tele-presence reward. T-shirt reward. Sticker reward. Also, a poster-size portrait (you supply picture, we'll print it) of your face placed to hang in the Ground Drone warehouse as a demi-god!

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Funding period

- (30 days)