Obstacle Avoiding Robot V2





Introduction: Obstacle Avoiding Robot V2

About: I am an electrical engineering and physics student and I love to tinker with things.

Recently I did an instructable on a simple obstacle avoiding robot. In this instructable I will be implementing a panning PING))) sensor, unlike the previous robot who's sensor was stationary. I will utilize this third servo upon which the PING))) sensor is mounted to pan left and right once the robot reaches the distance threshold. When the robot is panning left and right, it is looking for the “clearer” path. Once the robot has decided which path is clearer, it rotates and starts moving in that direction. In this tutorial I will describe to you through visuals and written instructions on how to create this obstacle avoiding robot. I will try to be as clear as possible and leave no details behind. You can also refer back to my first robot for additional information if you need to. Continue onto the first step for the parts list.

Step 1: Gather the Parts

To build this robot you are going to need the following parts. All of these parts can be gotten separately or in a bundle (you won't need all of the parts in the bundle) at http://www.parallax.com/.

The following hardware you can get anywhere in various prices.
• Arduino Nano (any 5v Arduino of your choosing will work).
• Four AA batteries
• AA battery holder
• Breadboard (a mini breadboard was perfect in size).
• Wire
• PING))) Ultrasonic Distance Sensor

Hardware from Parallax:
The following hardware you can get anywhere in various prices.
Stock #            Quantity         Product Name
700-00009              1              Tail Wheel Ball
700-00022              1              Boe-Bot Aluminum Chassis
700-00023              1              Cotter Pin-1/16" Diameter
700-00025              1              Rubber Grommet-13/32" Hole Diameter
721-00001              2              Wheel, Plastic, 2.58 Dia, .3 W
721-00002              2              Rubber Band Tire for 721-00001
900-00008              2              Continuous Rotation Servo
570-28015              1              PING))) Mounting Bracket Kit

• Arduino IDE (my version is 1.0.5).

• Phillips head screw driver
• Computer
• Screws and nuts

Step 2: Tuning the Servos

Before we go ahead and start building anything, we need to calibrate the servos. First, we have to hook up the servo motors. The black wire should be connected to ground on your Arduino (labeled "GND"),  the red one to 5 volts (labeled "5V"), and the white one to pin 11 (labeled "~D11"). Once you have your servo hooked up to your Arduino, upload the following code to your Arduino board. Your servo will more than likely start to move because it isn't tuned perfectly yet. The small potentiometer that you see labeled there in my picture turns left and right. Adjust the potentiometer with a phillips head scredriwer. It will take a few shots to get it right because the servo has to be absolutely still if you've tuned it right. A hair to far left or right and it begins to spin. If you've tuned the servo to perfection and you see no movement from the servo, hook up the other servo and do the same. 


//Center Servos
#include <Servo.h>

Servo servo;

void setup()

void loop()

Continue onto the next step where we construct the circuit.

Step 3: Constructing the Circuit

As you can see, the circuit is very simple again. Nothing has changed from the first robot other than adding a third panning servo to pin D6 of the Arduino. I tried to make the schematic as neat as possible and I believe it's quite easy to follow. If your robot is not operating properly, the only problem/s that I foresee is/are somewhere within your code. Don't hesitate to ask for help. As noted in my previous obstacle avoiding robot instructable, the sensor that you see there in the schematic is NOT the PING))) sensor. The software that I used to create the schematic doesn't have the PING))) sensor in its inventory, so I used one that at least somewhat resembled the PING))) sensor. The connections are the same (red=power, black=ground, yellow=SIG). I believe that is all that needs to be said regarding the circuit, but if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Continue onto the next step for the programming part.

Step 4: Programming

The basic concept of the code is for the robot to always be monitoring for objects in front of it while moving. This is done by the PING))) sensor where it sends out a 40kHz chirp which is not audible, and retrieves the echo. The program then gets the duration it takes for the pulse to get back and converts it into distance. Once the robot detects an object where the distance forward is greater than the danger threshold - the path is clear so our program tells the robot to move forward. Otherwise the robot will stop then pan left and right. Depending upon which path is "clearer", the robot will rotate to that clearer path and start heading in that direction. The code just loops in this fashion. That is basically the "theory" behind the code. If you know of any improvements that could be done to the code, I would love to hear your feedback! Continue onto the last step for additional pictures and conclusion.


> Design an obstacle avoiding robot using an Arduino NANO and Parallax PING))) Ultrasonic Distance Sensor
> Version 2
> Zoran M.

#include //include Servo library

const int RForward = 0;
const int RBackward = 180;
const int LForward = RBackward;
const int LBackward = RForward;
const int RNeutral = 90;
const int LNeutral = 90; //constants for motor speed
const int pingPin = 7;
const int dangerThresh = 10; //threshold for obstacles (in cm)
int leftDistance, rightDistance; //distances on either side
Servo panMotor;
Servo leftMotor;
Servo rightMotor; //declare motors
long duration; //time it takes to recieve PING))) signal

void setup()
  panMotor.attach(6); //attach motors to proper pins
  panMotor.write(90); //set PING))) pan to center

void loop()
  int distanceFwd = ping();
  if (distanceFwd>dangerThresh) //if path is clear
    rightMotor.write(RForward); //move forward
  else //if path is blocked
    rightDistance = ping(); //scan to the right
    leftDistance = ping(); //scan to the left
    panMotor.write(90); //return to center

void compareDistance()
  if (leftDistance>rightDistance) //if left is less obstructed
    rightMotor.write(RForward); //turn left
  else if (rightDistance>leftDistance) //if right is less obstructed
    rightMotor.write(RBackward); //turn right
   else //if they are equally obstructed
    rightMotor.write(RBackward); //turn 180 degrees

long ping()
  // Send out PING))) signal pulse
  pinMode(pingPin, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(pingPin, LOW);
  digitalWrite(pingPin, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(pingPin, LOW);

  //Get duration it takes to receive echo
  pinMode(pingPin, INPUT);
  duration = pulseIn(pingPin, HIGH);

  //Convert duration into distance
  return duration / 29 / 2;

Continue on for additional pictures and the conclusion. 

Step 5: Additional Pictures and Conclusion

This project went nearly without a hiccup; probably because there wasn't much to do other than add the third servo. There were some bumps in the road regarding the code, though, where I spent some time debugging, but nothing too significant. Thankfully there were some other sources of similar builds which I borrowed some ideas from. For more detailed pictures on how to mount the servos you can refer to the instructable on my other obstacle avoiding robot. A neat addition that could be made in the future is to incorporate a piezoelectric buzzer that would go up in frequency as the robot got closer to an object or an LED bar that would serve the same function. Don't hesitate to post up your versions, even if you did it like I did. I would love to see them!



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    19 Discussions


    3 years ago

    @zoran msg me i built another type of robot and i have a question for ya

    Hey Zoran great project.

    A note on your code:

    in your initial #include you missed the <Servo.h>.

    Also you may want to include more comments for those learning and those who may want to hack your code. For example at the end of your long ping() function:

    "//Convert duration into distance
    return duration / 29 / 2;"

    You may want to say this converts it to centimeters and divides it by 2 because of the return trip of the pulse. If they change the 29 to 74 they will get inches. I know this is not concise and maybe confusing. Just an observation.

    this just might be the code I am looking for. I'm terrible with logic. I have 2 geared motors on a seeed studio motor shield, I have the drive figured out. it's the logic that decides the path that I'm having problems with. right now, she's in a display at my daughter's bible school, but once that's over, I'm going try and adapt your ping module. is the a major difference between coding for the ping))) and the cheaper hcsr04?


    1 reply

    Hi, rpotts2. Refer to this: https://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Arduino-and-HC-SR04-Example/ instructable on how to hook up and program your hcsr04. Thanks.

    If by 'full rotation' you mean 'continuous rotation', then yes. Here: http://www.parallax.com/product/900-00008 is the servo I used.


    4 years ago

    thanks for sharing your project
    Do you know how to build a robotics vehicle,which can dectect the objects and pick them up for transporting these objects from location A to a designed location in an optimal path without hitting obstacles like wall?

    1 reply

    I am sorry, but I do not know of the top of my head. I would need some time to think of how I would accomplish this. You could try looking for a diy here or google searching; I am sure someone has done it already. Thank you.


    4 years ago

    Furthermore, How to achieve these functions of pick up objects in location A ,and drop it in designed location?


    4 years ago

    Hi, Zoran

    Thanks for sharing your project.
    Can you show us how to design a robotic vehicles, which can detect objects and transport these objects from location A to designed location in a optimal path without hitting obstacles like wall or something else? Furthermore,

    hi thanks for sharing a great project .

    i just wanted to confirm if i use

    MG995 2BB Metal Gear Servo High RC Torque and

    US-020 Ultrasonic Distance Measuring Transducer Sensor will it make a difference.

    1 reply

    That should be fine. You might have to change some of the code in the program to correspond to the pins on your servo and sensor though.