Category Archives: Robotics

Building an autonomous robot car

This project is about an autonomous vehicle, based on a modified toy RC car, that can drive along a “road” without any manual interaction required.

To this end, the car’s remote control is modified so it can be attached to a microcontroller, that receives commands from a Python program running on a laptop. The camera, mounted on the top of the car, streams its view wirelessly to a neural net on the laptop, that decides what steering commands are the most appropriate at every time step/frame.

In this post, I will present how to modify the remote control (soldering and mechanical changes), how to extend the car, and how to stream live video, with low latency, from the Raspberry Pi to a laptop using GStreamer and OpenCV. An upcoming post will show a reliable neural net model for automated steering.

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Safety and formal proofs in robotics

Formal proofs and verification in robotics are a difficult subject to tackle, due to the unclear nature of the environment and the question of what constitutes a sufficient model to even be able to make valid proofs.

I stumbled upon research regarding safety in robotics, in particular about obstacle avoidance and surgery, which I have yet to read in detail, but seems interesting.

Since the NTSB, a US-government agency investigating transportation accidents, released their final report analyzing the causes of Uber’s autonomous car accident from 2018, the relevance of the search for a Driver’s License Test for Robotic Cars, that uses formal proofs, is highlighted again.

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