First to clarify something; no we’re not participating in the military business. We’re using remote controlled tanks, the tanks have a battle system which uses infrared. So it’s a friendly battle :).
Around two years ago I saw some remote controlled tanks. After investigating them for a while I found out that you can fight battles with them, either with some really small balls or infrared. I was hugely excited and quickly bought one of the infrared tanks. However I never managed to find the time to work on it and automate the tank with a Raspberry Pi and other hardware. So a while ago I decided to let other people do the hard work, in this case my colleagues. We’re currently organizing a tank battle were more than 60 colleagues in 11 teams are playing eh working with tanks. Every team got the same Tiger 1 Tank and a budget of 200 euro’s to buy hardware and software. Each team was free to pick their own hardware and software for the job.
In the end the tanks should drive and battle autonomous, without human interference. Along the road we planned a couple of battles, starting with a relatively simple battle and ending with a full on battle. So the first battle is all about controlling the tanks with something else than the normal remote control. The later battles are all about trying to shoot the other tanks autonomously.
For today we planned a hackathon so all participants can work on their tanks. It’s really interesting to see the different solutions. Some teams modified almost everything and control the engines and everything else directly. Other teams us a slightly easier approach and connect the existing remote to their own hardware. Of course there are also some teams who’re getting nervous because they are still in the starting stage and the battle is in two weeks :).
It’s also good to see the excitement from the teams and the psychological warfare that’s already going on to try and impress the other teams. One team even designed some custom shirts.
If you’re interested in tanks, lots of hardware like Raspberry Pi’s, some intelligent software, tears and sweat from the participants then keep following this blog! Or have a look at the website.