segunda-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2014


My name is Pedro Mendes, I'm 23 years old and I'm doing my master's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. 

This is my final year, therefore the next months will be spent working on my thesis. In this blog I'll write about the progress of my work for those who are interested in this area; I also hope to get some feedback so you're truly welcome to do so!

My thesis project is entitled "Intelligent Monitoring of Human Performance in Vehicle Pedals", and is a part of the ATLAS Project, in particular ATLASCAR, which is an endeavour of the Mechanical Engineering Department to create an autonomous driving car. If curious you can take a look at the ATLAS project - - and the Laboratory for Automation and Robotics (LAR) - - websites.

Figure 1 - ATLASCAR.

The intelligent monitoring of the pedals of a vehicle represents a great advantage not only for the assisted driving but also to the study and analysis of risk driving situations, increasing driving safety. The aim of my project is to find correlation between various pedal actions (contact, pressure, force, etc.) and other vehicle variables (acceleration, engine speed, etc.).

I have established a couple of main objectives that will serve as guidelines for my project:
  • Develop an easy-to-use non-invasive hardware, to get information from the pedals;
  • Create a software interface to monitor and calibrate them pedals;
  • Evaluate and characterize the driver's behaviour, analyzing the data from pedals and other variables of the car.
In the past few weeks, I have been working in a very intuitive interface that monitors and calibrates the pedals as well as in hardware development. At first, it were being used potentiometers to simulate the action in the pedals with serial communication, but now I managed to swap them with piezoresistors and to add SPI communication.

Figure 2 - Hardware using potentiometers.

Figure 3 - Hardware using piezoresistors.

This week I'll have my first LAR meeting where I'll present my thesis project thus I'll be preparing it.

That's all for now, I'll keep in touch!