Ross Robotics designs, manufactures and supplies modular, autonomous, ground-based robots for use in HVDC converter halls for transmission of renewable energy for major energy transmission operator companies around the world. Its multi-mission capability is delivered through re-tasking of the platform to fulfil a variety of missions through the rapid integration of new and mission-specific sensor & tool modules.
Ross Robotics and BotBlox have always had a close relationship, with the initial BotBlox Products being inspired by some of the problems faced by Ross Robotics.
The challenge faced by Ross Robotics
Ross Robotics was working on interfacing 2 cameras (one Lumens optical camera 4k resolution with 30x optical zoom and a Flir A700 thermal camera). These two cameras need to be interfaced via gigabit ethernet that can support PoE. This required a compact ethernet switch that could also deliver active PoE safely.
PoE is incredibly useful in compact networking applications because it allows the same cabling to be used for data and power. This cuts down cabling weight and makes a system simpler to use.
With such expensive high-performance cameras, Ross Robotics had to be sure that the selected BotBlox hardware would work well before making an initial prototype.
Ross Robotics testing
Ross Robotics has used plenty of BotBlox products in the past so they were quite familiar with and confident with the testing. Initially PoEBlox was tested with a Raspberry Pi + PoE Hat and Benchtop PSU, which passed with flying colors.
Ross Robotics later mounted PoEBlox and GigaBlox Nano in a prototyping enclosure on their robot for further testing.
Because Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) is a huge design focus for the engineers at Ross Robotics, they decided to design a custom chassis for the board, a task made much easier because BotBlox shares all 3D models of their boards.
Everything went as planned in the testing of the two prototypes. As a result, the system worked and both cameras could be operated smoothly with BotBlox‘s PoEBlox and GigaBlox Nano.
PoEBlox also worked very reliably in the EMC tests, allowing Ross Robotics to fully interface with the cameras even in heavy EM interference environments.
We continue to support Ross Robotics with their system testing and upgrading their system integration. With the promising outcomes of interfacing the cameras, Ross Robotics is excited about the new possibilities of integrating more third party tools & sensors for their customers, enabled by BotBlox’s networking hardware.