I am working on building an autonomous snow thrower similar to the one in this video.
I tore an old RX73 tractor down to just the chassis, by removing the engine, transmission, mower deck, brakes ... basically everything. Here are pictures of the Top of Frame, and the Underside of Frame after I cleaned it a bit.
In terms of steering and control, differential drive robots are dead simple to control vs. ackerman steering (traditional car steering).
It's often preferred in robotics to use two motors, one connected to each back wheel, and use a free caster wheel in the front, or use a chain to connect each back wheel to the front wheel on its same side.
Another popular method is all-wheel drive by connecting a motor to each wheel but use the same DC output for the front and back motors on each side.
Seeing as I already just two 250W Motors, and chains, it seems like the easier option is to use a chain to connect the front and back wheels on each side, rather than buying more motors.
I am concerned however, with this design, that the chain in exposed to the ground seeing as the underside of the chassis is not enclosed.
I image this could potentially cause snow to build up somewhere in that mechanism. If you look at the video and how the chassis is connected to the thrower, there is a pair of linear actuators with arms, so I can also switch out the thrower for the mower deck and this robot to mow the lawn next summer. So I am concerned about dirt, mud and grass getting stuck as well.
My questions are:
Are my concerns valid, or just lack of experience? If valid whats a good way to prevent that from happening?
What would you change about the drive mechanism? An additional two motors is not out of the question, they're approx $40 each