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PiRover

A Raspberry Pi and Lego car featuring skid steering, live video streaming, and beam axle suspension.

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Dimensions:

  • Length: 13cm
  • Width: 10cm
  • Height: 11cm
  • Weight: 0.65kg

Features:

  • Low latency h264 streaming with the RPi camera and gstreamer.
  • 4WD skid steering with suspension, so it doesn't get stuck on tiny bumps.
  • Remote control apps for Linux desktop and Android mobiles.
  • On-board WiFi access point, or client mode.
  • IMU with accelerometer/gyro/compass.
  • High brightness headlights for night-time.
  • Front and rear indicator and rear brake/warning lights.
  • 4400mAh rechargable battery. Lasts at least a couple of hours.
  • Onboard charging controller with in-video status display.
  • 100% open source. (Well, except for the Raspberry Pi blobs...)

My design goal was to build a traditional rover with the following properties:

  • Make full use of Raspberry Pi video hardware.
  • Easy to build. With full instructions that anyone could follow.
  • Reproducible. Using widely available commodity parts wherever possible, or else using totally custom parts with full schematics provided.
  • Robustness. No exposed circuit boards or loose wires to get snagged on things.
  • Portability. It can be thrown in a backpack to take it to places.
  • Repairable/Reusable. Avoiding gluing or modifying parts wherever possible so that any part can be removed and replaced, or reused in another project.

I don't think PiRover will change the world, but it might be useful as an educational tool as it could be used as a jumping-off point for a lot of different topics: basic electronics, PCB design, laser cutting, embedded Linux, and software development for multiple different platforms. I haven't done a full costing but I think you could build a PiRover for under $150.

Have a look at the build steps below and check the files section for the detailed build instructions in PDF format.

Raw schematics can be found on Github:

Control software:

Other useful software:

Software used to design it:

pirover.pdf

Build instructions

Adobe Portable Document Format - 18.95 MB - 07/23/2017 at 23:45

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  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Model A+
  • 1 × Pibow Coupe A+
  • 198 × Pieces of Lego Schematic on Github.
  • 1 × Power PCB Schematic on Github.
  • 1 × Laser Cut Custom Suspension Pieces Schematic on Github.

View all 24 components

  • Build PDF Added

    Alistair Buxton07/23/2017 at 23:54 1 comment

    I've added the build instructions PDF to the file area on this site. The instructions now contain some custom parts in addition to the lego pieces which should make it easier to follow how everything fits together. So far I have only done the suspension pieces. There is still a lot of electronics and wiring to do.

View project log

  • 1
    Before You Start

    Get the instructions PDF from the files section, which has step by step instructions in picture format!

  • 2
    Step 2

    Assemble the Pibow case around the Raspberry Pi Model A+.

  • 3
    Step 3

    Laser cut the suspension parts from 3mm MDF and glue the parts together.

View all 15 instructions

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Discussions

AVR (lordKiCAD) wrote 11/12/2016 at 20:12 point

An awesome combination of open hardware and legos, this is great!!! I made a lego robot but went entirely out of legos except for light sensors hotglued to the bottom and a control board on top. I really like these sort of projects, and yours is very well done!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alistair Buxton wrote 11/19/2016 at 21:41 point

Thanks. One of my goals was no modified or glued Lego pieces. :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

AVR (lordKiCAD) wrote 11/19/2016 at 22:49 point

I noticed that there wasn't any gluing or hacking lol I used hotglue because it can just be pealed off legos easily if I wanted to remove it. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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