Mini Self-Driving Cars Race at MIT

Mini self-driving cars race through tunnels at MIT. Watch the fastest car in the group and one that repeatedly crashes.

Photo Caption: MIT students used this 1:10 scale RC car equipped with LIDAR, camera, inertial sensors and embedded processing around a large-scale, “real-world” course.

In what has to be the best college class ever, students at MIT learned how to program algorithms for self-driving cars during a four-week Independent Activities Period (IAP) course called Rapid Autonomous Complex-Environment Competing Ackermann-steering Robot (RACECAR).

The vehicles used in the RACECAR course featured a high-performance NVIDIA Jetson Tegra K1 embedded computer, a rich sensor suite to perceive the environment, the open-source Robot Operating System (ROS), and student-developed autonomy algorithms to navigate MIT’s tunnels.

The mini cars happened to be on a 1:10 scale, and the students were tasked with building the fastest robotic car possible. The winning vehicle had a near-perfect run of 49.64 seconds at an average speed of 7.1 mph. Three out of four teams successfully completed the 515-foot race course.

Check out the video of the winning vehicle below. And if you want to see a self-driving car crash repeatedly (who doesn’t), skip ahead to the 2:40 mark.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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