Prior Robotics: A “Car Project” to create a self-driving, autonomous, Robotic Automobile.
It is an old story that many have asked about.
This was way before Tesla, and Waymo even existed, and this was also before the big automotive manufacturers seriously looked into this technology.
One member of CYCOGS®
in his 20’s, during the late 1980’s, and long before CYCOGS®
existed, developed a “Car Project”.
That car project was developed as a “Robotic car”, a partially automated “Autonomous Vehicle” (AV).
That “Robotic Car” if completed, would be classified today as a Level 2 autonomous vehicle.
But the car project was developed to be more than just a self-navigating or self-driving vehicle.
Two automation goals of that project were to create a better cruise control, now called “Adaptive Cruise Control” (ACC) for vehicle speed control
and a means of lane positioning and curve following.
That level of autopilot ability was primitive, especially when comparing to today’s technology.
With about 30 years of progress, fully automated Advanced Drive Systems (ADS) at close to a Level 4 - 5 driverless technology have been produced.
Many of the other “Robotic Car” project features will not be mentioned or disclosed, no one has implemented them yet. (Or thought of them?)
And to be fair, back then; we did not think of such things like traction control, hybrid electric propulsion, or using GPS and GIS.
GPS enabled GIS? what was that? We all know about it now.
Without letting the IP cat out of the bag, here are some design guidelines of the initial project.
It was a low profile, long vehicle. Designed at the maximum width that the regulations of that time allowed.
But, using the hardware of that era, we are talking about of a lot of cast iron. Heavy Metal.
In order to support all that era’s electronics and computers needed for the vehicle to operate robotically,
plus, the lead acid batteries to help run them, would take a lot of volume and support structure.
The car projects long length was needed to fit in the equipment.
The long vehicle length would cause maneuvering issues, so it was designed to use full, four-wheel steering.
The 4-wheel steering design enabled the rear wheel steering angles to match the front wheel steering angles.
This would allow for very tight turns, crabbing (lateral moves), and front fixed / rear steer movements.
Almost qualified as having holonomic vehicle movement capabilities.
Four-wheel steering is just what was needed for backing up a trailer, or maneuvering in close quarters under computer control.
The vehicle was a designed and overbuilt in case it blew a fuse, smoked and ended up crashing.
Airbags were just getting going, and not really an option.
But, considering insurance, technology, regulations, gas milage; it was hard justifying continuing its construction.
The updated regulations coming out after late-January 1993,
put the project on hold, and as the regulatory climate went even more unfavorably negative, put an end to the project.
The project hardware was sold and shipped from Wisconsin to California later in the mid-1990’s.
Note: the IP property was not disclosed or transferred in the sale. This was pre CYCOGS®
That early IP may be old, much of the IP is still unique and still under our control.
The “Robotic Car” project’s aerodynamic features were engineered into the automobiles design,
and several wind resistance reduction methods were employed.
Such air drag reduction concepts are weak by today’s standards, but were better than some current production models today.
The car project basic automotive design lacked some of today’s technologies like aluminum engine construction,
fuel injection, variable valve timing, anti-lock brakes, traction control and the list goes on.
For a generic vehicle Description and Overview of the “Robotic Car”:
||Approximately 7,000lbs road ready|
||Approximately 5,500lbs. (Without Automation related items: Computers, batteries, electronics, drives motors, etc.)|
||2WD, Rear engine, full 4-wheel steering, 2-passenger, side by side seating.|
||7.5 Liter Normally Aspirated V8|
||Under 7.7kg (17 lbs.)|
||Approximately 15’ (non-drift turning circle Approximately 30’)|
||2 - electric servo driven (top-front scissor pivot) doors|
|Trunk / Frunk:
||None. Behind the seat storage available|
||Terrible by today’s standards. But 350hp with a moderately low Cd does help.|
||9 - B/W analog cameras|
||14 - PC level computers|
|Electronics Power Load:
||6,000 watts, about 8 - Hp|
This was an automated vehicle project with problems that ended a decade before CYCOGS® was formed.
Such problems included: vehicle weight, fuel economy, technology, and costs.
The project would be very risky to use, dangerous and would be prone to break downs.
In hindsight, it was too soon for the project. We had hoped technology would move faster and resolve some of the issues.
Technology at that time was a limitation, but not a barrier.
This was the Era of the CRT monitor
286/386 CPU PC’s, 640K RAM, running DOS, and 200 Mbyte hard drives.
Couple this with a 5-minute boot up and 10 mbit networks. Unreliable, need we say more?
What about the Internet? WWW stated in 1991.
Primary sensing was using low resolution analog cameras and B/W Frame grabbers.
Usable LIDAR / RADAR ? Nope.
Sonar for distance measurements was sketchy and inaccurate.
GPS and GIS mapping were not really around in the early 1990’s.
Lasers Diodes, not really available for consumers in the early 1990’s.
Insurance: Getting insurance coverage was not good, close to impossible.
Regulation: Pretty much banned and down the tubes in 1993.
Modeling: Primitive 2D AutoCAD. Mock-ups ruled the day.
Physical modeling and 2D CAD, partially on paper, was hard for doing automotive engineering.
We certainly appreciate all the work that goes into any design now.
APU power and A/C were mandatory requirements. Fuel usage at standby, 1.5 – 2 GPH just sitting still.
With a 5-minute+ bootup, you would need to keep things running.
The finished project, if insurable and allowed to operate on the roads, would not be the safest, and most likely dangerous.
Computers were not very powerful or reliable, and using black and white low resolution analog cameras and sonar sensors for the primary sensing was scary.
Unthinkable in today’s GPS enabled GIS mapped environment.
As an add in: we have been asked – how fast, as in top speed. It was never completed, but by using some formulas and estimates:
Estimated 400Hp at the crankshaft, with a possible 322Hp at the rear wheels, automatic transaxle.
322hp = 240,115 watts of power = P.
A = Area – 80” wide x 44” tall or 2.03M x 1.1M, for an area of 2.27M2
Drag coefficient c = Cd about 0.32, D = air Density – 1.25.
Using the formula V = (2 *P/(c*D*A))1/3
= top speed in m/sec.
So, for you calculator users V = (2 * 240115 / (.32 * 1.25 * 2.27))x(1/3)
= 81 m/sec. or 181mph.
Using the specs for one of our company minivans: A = 2M x 1.75 = 3.5 M2
Power = 283hp, at the wheels about 250hp, 186,425 watts.
Drag coefficient Cd looks like .33.
So, for you calculator users V = (2 * 186425 / (.33 * 1.25 * 3.5))x(1/3)
= 63.68 m/sec. or 142mph for the minivan.
But, the minivan has a speed limited governor set to about 113mph.
Status of the “Robotic Car” project:
Waiting for better technology, so on hold for a while. Still under R&D / IP development.
After a couple BD-5b kits, we gained much needed experience with aluminum construction.
Aluminum has taken off as a vehicle construction material, not to mention carbon fiber.
We now have fast, reliable computers and better operating systems, CPU/GPU development has taken off,
5-10 Gbps networking / EtherCAT is now available, along with Wi-Fi and Cellular networks. Just look at your cell phone.
And we have fast, high resolution LIDAR and RADAR sensors, color video cameras, lasers, and technologies like GPS with GIS mapped databases,
Li-ion batteries, smaller and more efficient electronics, and the list goes on.
Development wise, we now have much better computers for running software; 3D CAD, Simulation,
Finite Element and computational fluid dynamics software tools are readily available.
We even have Robot Operating Systems
and Open-Source autonomous vehicle systems.
Our creations and IP from way back is still shaping up, and we think we are still ahead in many areas, some have not been conceptualized by others.
We have that perspective from working on automotive, unmanned vehicle and robotics engineering.
It was a car project with many years of R&D before even starting it.
Unfortunately, it was designed and under construction 15 years or more before the technology and society was really ready.
If you check back in 2035, that year's current technology will make our 2021 technology look primitive.
Our autonomous vehicle project construction on the original car project may have stopped, but the robot car project development has continued.
We have developed a great deal of proprietary IP concepts, designs, devices and systems.
Another autonomous vehicle is planned and lives in CAD /
Simulation and other software systems
to go with our continued development.
We plan on having this new car project under construction again.
And the new project vehicle would most likely be a CYCOGS®
Of course, we are not totally stupid.
We would use other companies developed technology if available – we are not developing things like engines, transmissions, etc.
We may alter them, but having a dealer for a broken part is a benefit.
We do look forward to bringing our technology to fruition.
This vehicle, we like to think of is as a living system, still will not be compact, the fastest, nor the sexiest, nor the most fuel efficient,
but it will be ours.
Please contact us here at the CYCOGS
company if you have additional questions
or related needs.
Sales E-mail: sales@CYCOGS.com
The Robotic Car Project
is under development and may be offered in advance as a customized manufactured system, standard models may not yet be available at this time.
As the development effort in core technology and concepts continues,
company reserves the right to change some specifications and data or is not available or
suitable for public dissemination for all products. Pre-production information is not fully available for some products at this time.
Customizations and other options may result in an additional cost.
company is not liable for the use, installation,
performance or fitness of this vehicle, component or its systems.
Your purchase indicates you assume the risk of its proper use, operation, maintenance and its subsequent installation and
end user training
company patented intellectual property is strictly enforced and protected.
the systems it sells from component defects or failure for the period of one year after purchase.
Sales E-mail: sales@CYCOGS.com
company is a privately owned, 100% American company and based in the state of Wisconsin.
OEM engineered products and systems are designed, made, built and assembled in the state of Wisconsin, USA.
company strives to use American domestic components whenever possible.
Some of the components may be sourced from the only available manufacturer, which may be owned, created or delivered from other countries.
Sales E-mail: sales@CYCOGS.com