Project Inspiration: A Self-driving, A.I.-powered R/C Car [Video]

By: Tim Gluth

Self-driving cars are a hot topic in the automotive and tech world. Taking that same idea to a smaller-scale, it’s now possible to build your own self-driving R/C car. Meet the Smartibot, a Kickstarter project which combines artificial intelligence and easy programming to produce creations that are both fun and exciting.

The base Smartibot kit includes a circuit board, two motors, a battery box, and a cardboard chassis. When fully assembled, the Smartibot is a cute, friendly, functioning robot. But the story doesn’t end there.

The circuit board is able to accept a variety of inputs, including those from an electronic speed control (ESC) and radio receiver. Ross Atkin, the project lead behind the Smartibot states:

“The Smartibot circuit board has been designed for hacking all kinds of battery operated items including toys and R/C models. It is compatible with anything that runs between 5V and 8V and accepts a PWM signal on a 3 pin servo header. This means that it is compatible with standard R/C components such as servos and speed controls. It has 10 of these headers so can support up to 10 channels. It also has 4 screw terminal outputs that can run DC motors up to 1A in either direction or other DC loads like lights. With all the outputs together you've got 14 channels all controllable from your smartphone.”

As a proof of concept, the Smartibot team has combined their Smartibot circuit board with a Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin, creating a self-driving radio-controlled truck. In the video below, you can see the various tracking and driving modes available with the Smartibot system.

This definitely looks like a unique and fun project, especially if you’re looking to take your R/C build to the next level.

There are multiple pledge levels currently in play for this Kickstarter program, ranging from $46 to $393. To learn more and back the Smartibot project, visit the project’s Kickstarter campaign page.

Media credit: The Smartibot Team

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