DC Motor Controller Design Suggestions...please...2

Hello Everyone, I am a member of a systems design team at Oklahoma Chritian University. My team (of two EE majors and one CE major) has
been asked to "design a closed-loop DC motor controller that controls 2 or more motors, is inexpensive, functional and easy to use." Our project is a continuation of the project that you may know of lead by James Klein. We have inherited a PCB of the controller which consists of two PIC18F2431 processors, an LM2575-5.0, and two MC33186 H-Bridges. My team's direction in this project is geared more towards the PC support software, programming of the controller, and user manuals/application notes. We have recently been thinking of how to execute commands given to the controller, and what kind of commands we should have. The commands we have so far are: constant speed, veering, turning (on an axis), trapezoidal profile, and a self tuning process. We would like to know if these commands seemed useful, and if there are any other commands that you would like on a controller? We were also wondering if a position controller would be more useful than a command driven controller. We began this project in January and have until April, 2006 to complete it. We are relatively new to the robot hobbyist world, and new to the DC motor controller world as well, so we would appreciate any knowledge you could impart on us. As with the group ahead of us, we hope that we will be able to deliver a marketable product at the end of our project. We will be posting on this board often as we run into problems and come up with questions, and your input is appreciated. Thank you.
--Mike Collins Team Leader
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The best advice I can offer is NOT to post every time you hit a problem, but try and work it out yourselves. Engineering is about making judgements and trade offs - you will learn very little if you rely on others. Engineering is also about making mistakes and dealing with the consequences.
I could also comment from extensive exposure to my own mistakes that trying to make a 'product' for a 'market' that you do not have direct experience of is pretty well guaranteed to produce a lemon - so your first action should probably be to make a simple rolling test bed that you can try out ideas on.
Good Luck !
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