Liam Patterson

Autonomous RC Car

Raspberry Pi, Python, sensor array

We set out to modify a traditional, off-the-shelf remote control car to incorporate autonomous driving features. We engineered the car to include self-parallel-parking ability, providing ease of use for the “driver” in hard-to-otherwise-park spots. The car can also detect oncoming obstacles and pedestrians and apply emergency braking action to stop before a collision occurs.

In this project, we set out to transform a traditional remote control car to a semi-autonomous, self-parallel-parking vehicle. With a myriad of sensors, including a camera, proximity sensors, and line detectors, we aimed to allow the car to drive around a predetermined track, while being on the lookout for possible obstacles and pedestrians that may run in front of the vehicle. The Raspberry Pi was to be the brain of the car, processing sensor inputs and sending PWM drive signals to our motor driver. Given the 1GB of RAM and four-core 1.2GHz ARM processor, the Pi was the perfect candidate for processing all available information. The system is built upon a multithreaded architecture, with all modules written in Python. A modular codebase allowed for a clear system architecture and made it easy for fixes and improvements to be made. This also allows for concurrent programs, with each signalling back to a single drive thread that continually reacts to variables that have been set in the global space. This polling-reactive nature allows for quick response times and efficient data transfer.

For more on our project, visit our project’s website here.