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DCU Students create RoboCab, the 'driverless taxi'



Robocab winners Third year engineering students at Dublin City University (DCU) came a step closer to solving Dublin's public transport problem this month as they unveiled a fleet of "RoboCabs" on March 16th. RoboCabs are self-controlled robots that can drive, collect and drop off passengers, sound horns and flash lights, all without the assistance of a driver. Each RoboCab controls itself - there are no joysticks or remote controls sending instructions to the cars.

Small teams of engineering students have worked together over the last six weeks to design and build their RoboCabs. According to Dr Noel O'Connor, School of Electronic Engineering, the project integrates a number of different aspects of engineering.

"Students have to design the mechanical structure of their robot using Lego building blocks and various gearing mechanisms, decide what electronic sensors to use and how to connect these to the controlling micro-processor. Furthermore, they then have to write the software that provides instructions to the micro-processor and enables the RoboCab to drive, pick up passengers and take them to their desired destination without human intervention."

Eleven prototypes competed for the title of RoboCab champion 2005 in the annual mobile robotics competition sponsored by Farnell Ireland.

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