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Convert a basic plastic toy car to autonomous, request for comments. Answered

Here is my idea: Convert a basic plastic toy car to autonomous.

Using an arduino or similar, convert a basic toy car to autonomous.

My son has a toy car approximately 10 inches or so in length he outgrew.  It is quite rugged and would be a shame to throw it away as it is in very good condition.

The wheels are approximately 4 inches high.  I have opened the chassis and there is a gap of approximately 4 centimetres (rising to 7 centimetres at the front and back) between the base and the body.

There is more than enough room to fit an arduino in there along with a couple of motors and batteries (although realistically I would fit the batteries externally so they can be replaced easily).
The wheels are on metal rods approximately 3 millimetres thick that travel the width of the car.

[]-----[] <simple diagram, you get the point..

If I was to cut each bar in the centre I would end up with the 4 wheels on a length of metal rod.
Using a self-locking washer on the inside of the chassis I could prevent the wheels falling out:

If I connected a motor to the back wheels and linked the front and back wheels so the back wheels drove the front wheels I should get a tank-track like system - turning the back left wheel would turn the front left wheel, same for the right hand side.

Controlling the motors would allow forward, reverse, left, right and turning on the spot mobility.

Using sensors to detect distance, light, darkness, collisions etc which on an arduino would be trivial would give a truly autonomous vehicle.

Am I way off track here or is my idea feasible?

Please, comment away.. I will give it a go anyway but before I start I wish to know that it can in theory work :)



Best Answer 6 years ago

randofo has made a great instructable on this! hope it helps.

Fritzl has come up with a brilliant wall following car design over on Let'sMakeRobots.  That one's Picaxe controlled but the wall following algorithm is amazingly simple so would be east to implement on an Arduino.

Completely feasible. You already have the chassis, now its a matter of adding all the parts you've mentioned.

Firstly, thanks for reading through all that!

I thought it should work, the only parts I would need to get are the locking washers (do you know what those things are actually called by the way?), motors (I can doubtlessly cannibalise from something or other) and the sensors, although for testing I can just use collision detectors and have it bonuce around the living room.