Part 4 — Taking it to the next level.

Previous posts in this series can be found here.

The Bugsta

Having finally got my ‘test’ car working it was time to try something a little more exciting. I had an FTX Bugsta which is a fast car — up to 37mph on a 3 cell LiPo!

I was not going to go anywhere near that speed but was interested in getting this working outside. My first attempt was a disaster in that I couldn’t control the car at all with the bluetooth controller — the range was terrible and the accuracy awful. I wanted to use my RC controller but unfortunately…

Part 3— Trying to Get it to Drive

Previous posts in this series can be found here.

Image Preprocessing Using OpenCV

I was a bit disappointed — other blogs that I’ve read seemed to be almost plug’n’play. Admittedly I’ve got some more custom code in here but I thought it should be doing better.

After some checks on the driving histograms :

Everything seemed ok, so my next thought was that in other videos people have larger rooms and clearer roads. My road was some masking tape on a reflective wooden floor and in a small space with lots of furniture. …

Part 2 — The Software and Learning the First Model

Previous posts in this series can be found here.

Installing the Software

I like to use ssh to log onto the Jetson and then use byobu with tmux_resurrect installed to allow me to run multiple windows within the putty console and to restore from where I left off before I last shut the car down.


On the Jetson, first of all install VirtualEnv and create a DonkeyCar environment. Activate this and do everything in this environment. I use virtualenvwrapper from here.


The first and main piece of software to install is from DonkeyCar. For the Nano there is a small config change depending…

Part 1 — The Basics

How do you go about building a self driving model car? This series of articles will take the reader through the basics to advanced techniques, including simple object detection based driving behaviours. It took a bit of time and determination but I had fun doing it!

Let’s start with my list of posts:

  1. The basics, including setting up the hardware for the first prototype
  2. The software, and learning the first model
  3. Trying to get it to drive — using image preprocessing to help and wrestling with bugs!
  4. Taking it to the next level — A bigger and faster car, performance…

Alistair Mclean

An innovator, problem solver, analyst, creator, programmer, architect, researcher, scientist, coordinator, advisor, executive, father, gamer and mountain biker.

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