Technical Summary: The Park Ranger is an ultrasonic-ranging prototype designed
to assist drivers who are backing into tight areas. The ranger uses ultrasonic
pings to measure distance to the object behind and indicates this distance by
sending audible tones to your FM radio. Optional panel-mount LEDs offer visual
aid for calibration as well as warning drivers behind you.
Project Goal: The intention of this project is to demonstrate the Amani64’s
ability to serve as a rapid-prototyping tool for applications typically covered
by proprietary modules. While a commercial ultrasonic-ranging module could be
used in this project, the Amani64 is used in instead to tailor the system to our
exact needs. The user can drop in
blocks of IP, whether open-source or
their own, to create a custom
application over which they have full
control and ownership. A CPLD-based
prototyping board is useful for any
application that requires logical
circuits, whether they be parallel or
sequential, that space, cost, and
vendor-delivery times are a concern.
Were this a system I intended to sell,
the next step would be to consolidate
the system onto one PCB and into a
compact form-factor. The initial
prototyping stage, demonstrated in the
tutorial, allowed me to evaluate, test and modify the system without being
constrained by third-party modules I do not fully have control or rights to.
As I do not intend to sell Park Rangers, I find the prototype sufficient as a
permanently deployed system. The construction techniques demonstrated in the
following tutorials have sustained the system, deployed in the wet Hawaiian
environment, for the six months since it was created.