Trail Navigation

I am working on a robot that (hopefully) will be capable of driving along our ATV trails. I am not yet sure how to accomplish this, but have been considering an inductive loop. I am concerned about the depth of the wire. It will need to be buried at least 6 inches to not be dug up by 4 wheelers or erosion later on. Would it still be able to detect any vehicle passing over at that depth? Thanks in advance.

Would it still be able to detect any vehicle passing over at that depth?

I would think you'd be concerned in the other direction - would the vehicle, which has the steering and speed and feedback controls in it, be able to detect the signal in the wire.

Best bet is to bury some wire at different depths and try it. I am guess that once soil has been dug up once, it is pretty susceptible to being dug up even easier by mechanical means (man made other) later on. Maybe better solution would be parallel lines spaced out away from vehicles. Then the automated vehicle could sense both and keep itself in the middle.

How are you planning on steering the ATV? I think you're going to need something with a lot of torque.

Depends on the size of the Robot, no? If it's a small one, than something smaller can used.

I like the idea of parallel lines, although I wish it was just as easy as painting it on the ground. If I am going to use them, it will need to be something durable, maybe PVC?

The robot will be using a small ATV as the frame, so steering will be difficult, but I think I've found a linear actuator that should do.

That's for the quick replies!

Do you have any pictures? What is the weight of this ATV? I was picturing a gas-powered 4-wheeled ATV that has handlebars for steering. But I suppose ATV can mean a lot of different types of vehicles.

The buried line, look at replacement invisible fence wire for dogs. Intended to be buried. I tried leaving mine exposed in the woods, small animals kept chewing on the insulation. In grassy areas, just made a slot by wiggling a flat spade in, have someone follow and push the wire in. Example http://www.homedepot.com/p/PetSafe-500-ft-Boundary-Wire-for-In-Ground-Radio-Fence-RFA-1/100349920 or maybe a set with flags for initial testing: http://www.homedepot.com/p/PetSafe-Boundary-Wire-and-Flag-Kit-PRFA-500/100081484

It is a honda trx 70, so yes gas engine and handle bars, but on the smaller end of ATVs.

I've actually looked into an underground dog fence for this, but how would I receive feedback to the Arduino? Do I just apply current to the wire?

Put an AC signal thru the wire, and a matching receiver in the arduino, Use 2 different frequencies so you can tell which wire you're approaching. Maybe dissect a actual dog fence transmitter & collar and see how they work. The AC powered unit is usually lightning protected too.

Ya I'll try that, thanks. :)