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“Network”, an Ebonyi State University student builds Obstacle Avoider Robot



Mobile Robot is a fast evolving concept. Likewise, the number of mobile robots and their complexities are increasing with different applications.

Today, there are many types of mobile robot navigation techniques, such as Path Planning, Self – Localization and Map Interpreting.

Thus, an Obstacle Avoiding Robot is a type of autonomous mobile robot that avoids collision with unexpected obstacles and this is where Ozichukwu Smart Mbam, popularly known as “Network”, a 400-level Computer Science student of Ebonyi State University has developed interest.

He built the obstacle avoider robot [vehicle] as his project and defended the concept very well, can report.

The project was tested and it was 99% accurate for obstacle detection. It is smart and intelligent enough that if two cars with this functionality face each other there will ‘never’ be a collision which causes untimely death.

According to the student, the deaths recorded on Nigerian roads, due to accidents, are alarming “and so this product will play vital role in reducing death rates on Nigerian roads”.

He added that it will assist the driver a great deal on some stress management mechanism during driving such that if such driver feels dizzy while on the wheel, the robot, can control the vehicle.

Ozichukwu, in a chat with explains further:

“It was cool when it was tested; every functionality seems to work very well and I believe this will reduce motor accident from 80% to 1.0% making a huge impact to human”.

“I was motivated to work on this project because of incessant occurrence of motor accident these days; it is becoming a very big challenge to humanity. “During my research I found out that motor accident is a problem to every living creature; that is why people do a lot of incantation or prayer before traveling either as a driver or passenger. So, I came up with this idea in order to keep the humanity safe from motor accident”.

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“This project is about a system for assisting a vehicle driver while driving and parking in all direction,” Ozichukwu said.

Ozichukwu Smart Mbam on the day of his project defense

Functionality of the Object Avoider Robot Vehicle:

The Object Avoider Robot Vehicle is equipped with backup sensors, These sensors detect the presence and proximity of objects in the pathway of either forward or reversing and stop the vehicle from moving forward or backward respectively. If the driver delays to take action it will wait for a second then look for a part where there is no obstacle and follow the path.

“We have investigated the performance capabilities and potential safety effectiveness of these systems in reducing the risks to small children and other pedestrians from vehicle accident.

“It makes easy for a driver to drive safe or park the car in reverse direction. It does not only give warning but also applies automatic brakes when distance between an obstacle and vehicle is below some threshold value [undisclosed]”, he said.

The system is primarily designed as safe driving and parking aids, however it can be said to a safety system with the potential to reducing or preventing collisions with pedestrians, especially children.

This is a microcontroller based system which is useful in automobiles as an intelligent vehicle assistant for safe driving.

When contacted on the telephone, the Head of Department, Computer Science, Ebonyi State University, Dr. Chinagorom Ituma, told that from the beginning of the classroom till the time it became a project, he [Ozichukwu] worked with a group (of students) and has been exceptional.

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“Apart from what classes (lectures), I gave them some space to express themselves. I was only supervising; they did the work themselves. I can tell you that Ozichukwu learnt a great percentage of that project confidently.

Asked how he felt about the innovation by one of his students, Dr. Ituma said, “I have nursed this dream; three years ago I went out of the curriculum to do something different for the student. Because the present curriculum was exactly the same as at the time I was an undergraduate.

“But I knew the world is moving so fast. I needed to add value to the lives of these students. I looked for what is the in-thing which is the frontiers of Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Interfacing Control [IC]. I went out of my way, studied and came to introduce it to the students. The students have actually been doing well.

Other students in the University demonstrated other powerful program including advanced student and staff attendance management system with face detection, finger print and smart card.

“Apart from this vehicle, there are other exciting projects developed by other students. There is this ‘Baby Bed’ that can trigger the mother when the baby urinates, when the baby is playing or crying,” the HOD continued, “There is also a project on ‘Autopedic Bed’. The idea came to me the day I went to take my wife home from the hospital and a patient was shouting, ‘Nurse, can you people come and raise my leg!’ They were over 40 patients to five nurses in the hospital. All the nurses were very busy. I asked the nurse whether I can help raise the leg. They granted me permission. I knew it wasn’t they do not want to help, but they were overwhelmed.

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“So, as I was going home, I thought of it: can the patient just by pressing of a button gets the leg of the bed raised? I came back, did a design and handed over to the students. They analysed it; strangely we came up with a machine using a ‘common’ motorcycle remote control. So, a patient whose hand(s) is(are) active can make use of the remote to raise the leg of the bed up and down. Those are the kind of projects I introduced to my students”.

“When I see them doing great things like this I am always excited. I only supervise, because I want them to take their decisions. Immediately it comes to final year projects I give them opportunity to test themselves; that way they develop confidence, because when they leave (graduate) if anybody asks them questions about what they have done they can confidently defend it.

Dr. Ituma further encouraged the Government and private sector operators to embrace such innovation, especially the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as car manufactures.

“If they engage such student they can be very innovative and productive”.

“The demo of that vehicle was interesting: it moved from a passage in a building to another passage; avoiding obstacles. We have seen the Google of this world, Tesla and others are headed with driverless cars. The World isn’t waiting for us”.

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