There is currently no universal protocol for indicating key numerical properties about a robot body to the controller. Vital data, such as the power cost of engaging locomotion and the maximum safe operating temperature, are typically left at default values during the controller installation process, and only under very specific circumstances (such as the installation of a BaCdrive controller) can any of these attributes be inferred.

The chassis specification unit, or CSU, is the primary solution to this problem. With the CSU, owners can install configuration files that allow a main controller to properly recognize the exact settings most appropriate for their robot's body. The standard CSU model is the Opaque Computing (OC) EXB-8505, but modifiable bodies can have the firmware from this device installed to save attachment space.

Settings that can be configured through the CSU include:

  • Power requirements, including FTL jump cost and recharge time
  • Maximum durability multiplier and safe temperature range for ATOS/E
  • TESI sensitivity and normal lubricant level
  • Chassis model name and serial number information

  • Animation overrider

    The CSU also provides a compact, one-script implementation of an animation overrider. This has the notable distinction of correctly playing turning animations even when the viewer's controls are in use. To use the CSU AO, name the configuration notecard from a Vista, Oracul, or Zhao AO "a_something", and place it into the CSU with all of its required animations. The AO can be started with @kinematics something and stopped with @kinematics off. Other options are @kinematics sit, @kinematics sitg, @kinematics on, and @kinematics reload. These toggle sit animations, sit-on-ground animations, re-enable the AO after it has been disabled with off, and reload the current AO notecard, respectively.

    Geiger counter

    The CSU will tick audibly in the presence of ionizing radiation, as well as certain UHF and EHF frequencies that interfere with controller function. See Interference from electromagnetic radiation in the Robot Hardware Handbook for more information. The CSU's Geiger counter is a safety feature and cannot be disabled.

    Motor relay and data-drive sounds

    The CSU produces audible effects when the unit moves or enters the working state. This can be adjusted in the CSU configuration file.