Me and a group of friends are building a rover for a school project. What I am confused about is what specific parts I would need to complete it. We want it to:
Not impossible - but it's not going to be easy...
-tell when it hits the surface from the job and drive out of a capsule
Well - first you need to know when the capsule is no longer in motion, and you also need to know that the capsule is "upright" (how are you going to ensure this? Even with a parachute, you might not land upright!). Probably a 3-axis accelerometer would be best for this, that way you can measure if you are still in motion, also when you "hit" the surface (a large jolt in acceleration opposite - I believe? - to "down"). You might also want something on the capsule that can tell when surface contact has been made (maybe a simple switch?). Or - if acceleration measurement is too much, look for a "caged ball" sensor to determine "orientation". Using one of those, and some kind of contact sensor switch on the capsule, might be enough to tell you "I am down, and I am upright - open pod bay doors, HAL"...
-pick a path away from the capsule (ping sensor)
Once again, assuming you are upright. You would also want to know what direction you are facing, so you can drive away, then "turn around" - a compass sensor of some sort (plus some kind of wheel motion measuring sensor) would be useful for this...
-2 whell drive
Pick the platform carefully - for this kind of a project, I would personally go for a Tamiya "tank tread" base with the dual motor gearbox, plus an L298-based motor driver board (which can control two motors).
-attach a camera to a servo for a panoramic to take a picture of the capsule
Well - hooking up a servo is easy enough, but what kind of a camera do you intend to use? You can't hook a camera directly to the Arduino, so you'll need to either use a wireless camera of some sort (a cheap 900 MHz wireless "security camera" would work OK), or use some kind of lightweight "spy video camera" device (they make simple ones that have a camera and an SD card slot to record video easily, generally with audio as well).
We want this to fit in a 150x100x100 mm box, we can expand it a bit more if we have to. We were thinking of using a Arduino Uno R3 or going smaller and maybe a Arduino mini. Thanks!
With the tank platform I mentioned, it should be easy to fit all of this (even using a standard-sized Arduino) into those dimensions, I think...