This project is still very much in the proof-of-concept phase. It is a prototype with a lot of rough edges. The keyfob cameras are very temperamental and difficult to mount into standard LEGO dimensions.
1. The chassis can drive over grass carrying the full weight of all the components and batteries. That is one major achievement!
2. The dGPS works well when outdoors
3. I can record GPS waypoints in KML format.
4. The keyfob cameras are securely mounted
5. The NXTBee will send telemetry (battery level, GPS coordinates) to a receiver.
Yet to be done:
1. Obviously there is no live streaming of video or pictures from the car to a receiver base-station. I have a design in mind to achieve this.
2. The keyfob cameras are very sensitive to incorrect placement. Aligning the tiny shutter button with a LEGO piece requires a lot of fine tuning. Not every camera fires concurrently. For now I can reliably capture images from the front-facing camera.
3. The process to copy the images from the car is manual and not yet automated.
4. I don’t have a way to stitch the pictures together into a panorama that you can explore in 3D. I can do a 2D panorama, but again it’s a manual process.
5. The car can’t drive itself - yet!
How do we get the pictures and KML file from the NXT and into Google Earth?
First of all we need to get all the data in one place. The KML file refers to the relative path of each image, so we can package the KML file and the images into a single directory.
An example of the output produced is shown below. In this test case I started indoors in my house and took a few pictures. As you can see the dGPS has trouble getting an accurate reading and so the pictures appear to be scattered around the map. I then drove the car outside and started to capture pictures as I drove. From Snapshot 10 onwards the images become more realistic based on where the car actually is.