MIT Course Enables Students to Build Robotic Racecars from Jetson TK1 Kits

The students’ challenge: Build a self-driving mini-robot car that can zip around a tunnel maze track while navigating its twists and turns. During the three-week class, students prototyped and tested autonomy algorithms leading to a timed race around the basement hallways of MIT.

Left to right: Students Abhishek Agharwal, Jason Ma, Valerio Varricchio, John Alora, and postdoc Guy Rosman pose with their robot vehicle.
To give the cars their autonomous abilities, students design and program algorithms using a Jetson TK1 embedded computer. Jetson TK1 helps the 1:10-scale cars deploy the open-source Robot Operating System, assess their environment and develop a language to help them race the fastest while careening around the course.

For next year’s course, the professor has big plans — a Formula 1-style race arena with a dozen cars jostling for pole position. After harnessing the power of Jetson, he’s ready to add GPU-powered stereo cameras and feature detection.

Read more and watch the cars in action >>