Pololu-powered Full Size JEEP drives itself to victory!

With Pololu products onboard, my 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, “Troubled Child” drove itself to victory in a robot competition over the weekend at the 2014 Sparkfun AVC!

Yes, you read that right. We made my Jeep into an autonomous vehicle. (details here) We were very happy to field the first full size AVC – and we had 3/3 flawless runs! Needless to say, the SHARC FSV team is really happy.

For safety, I and my copilot were inside the whole time; I had brake and throttle control. The Jeep steered. We had an emergency-stop that would activate the brake failsafe. The copilot monitored my Ground Control Station for signs of error. We had a ground spotter in radio contact during the run. We ran in the enclosed AVC course on our own.

The Jeep was run by an mbed (ordered from our friends in Las Vegas) in control as well as a tried and true Pololu Step-Down Voltage Regulator D15V35F5S3 for powering the electronics and Pololu Dual Relay Board to run the warning horn and deactivate the pneumatic brake failsafe during the run.

Run 1:

Run 2:

Here are videos from inside and outside on the Jeep’s third run:

Source code is on github (here), in the FSV branch. It’s the same code base that runs Data Bus, my 1:10 scale rover, which took 3rd place back in 2012. I wrote this code to be experimenter-friendly. If you want to build your own rover, let’s talk. Come join diyrovers Google Group http://is.gd/diyrovers. There’s a bunch of us talking all things autonomous rover.

Congratulations on getting first place in the “Doping Class” and the crowd favorite award with “Troubled Child” and a 3rd place finish with “Data Bus”!

Thank you for sharing your AVC entries with us; they are truly impressive and very cool! Unfortunately, we were unable to make it to the SparkFun AVC this year to see all the entries in person. It is always fun to see projects like this (even if they don’t use our products like yours do). Also, very nice job documenting and writing up your builds; I love all the details and pictures on your blog.

We are planning on making a community project blog post about your AVC projects. Keep up the great work!


Many thanks! Blog post == awesome!

Note of clarification: Troubled Child won this past Saturday (2014 AVC). Two years ago in 2012 Data Bus placed 3rd. It didn’t compete this year as I ran out of time.

Hopefully we’ll see Pololu out there in 2015!