A collection of quick line-followers

Here’s a nice collection of line-following robots (translated). They’re fast and they stay on track even through sharp turns. They center around a Baby Orangutan board which features an ATmega328 microcontroller and two motor driver channels. These drive the geared motors and use optical sensors to track a dark line on a light surface. There’s plenty of build and testing information (translated) if you’re interested in the gory details. Or just jump past the break to see the red on doing its thing.

[Thanks Jim]



  1. LazyMegaMan says:

    So… People have been trying to get cars to drive themselves for years. But they’ve been basing this on a large array of expensive cameras, real-time 3D laser scanning, and other environmental tracking devices in order to accomplish this. I realize that this kind of tracking is relevant on terrain that isn’t as predictable as a regular paved road, but why is it that I’ve never heard of anyone building a large version of these line-followers? Throw a green stripe down in the center of a lane on the highway, put a camera on the bottom, and a small light to light up the underside of the car for added camera visibility. Sure, it may not help in confusing areas such as neighborhood streets, but on a simple loop highway there’s no reason why this wouldn’t assist with keeping people from slamming into each other.

    For added control, throw a range-finder on the front of the car and have it measure the distance from the car in front of it, and modify the speed accordingly. There you have it, a car that stays in the lines and slows down/speeds up according to the cars in front of it. All that’s left is to figure out how to allow changing lanes.

  2. Justin Lee says:

    “you’re” interested, maybe? ^^

  3. Mysterio says:

    One nice snow and no more visible lines on the road…

  4. Mysterio says:

    …besides, until EVERYONE has a self-driving car, you have to assume that NOBODY has one but you. Any such system would need to be insanely robust before the govt would even consider to allow it, public safety is pretty dang important. And we got a lotta miles of highway that would need green stripes painted down the middle of them… stripes that would wear down like all the other painted lines on the roadways, or be broken up by potholes of random size, or dead skunks… notice how nice and wobbly the front end is on those line followers, you’d need a much tighter control system if you want a smooth ride to work in the morning… Yeah what works for a toy is not necessarily gonna work for mass transit.

  5. bbot says:

    I have unsubscribed from Hackaday. The posting volume just got too high for me.

  6. yimmy says:

    @bbot thanks for sharing but no one cares what you do

  7. Drake says:


    The biggest setback of automated highways is if there is an incident who is to blame. States and national government doesn’t want to be at the end of the law suit stick if there is an accident.

  8. zerth says:


    It sounds like you live in an area that doesn’t get snow and the local Dept of Transportation repaints the roads before the paint wears away.

    Perhaps a metallic strip embedded in the road. Not carrying signal, as it would be broken after the first winter, but just to be detected.

  9. Andy says:

    @LazyMegaMan: A system like this is used routinely in warehouses utilizing “very narrow aisles”, only it uses a buried wire and RF. A forklift can zoom down the aisle with only mere inches on either side. RF prevails over optical in this arena because of its imperviousness to dirt (which you never run out of in a warehouse.)

  10. Chris says:

    @yimmy: Thank you.

  11. gaiamantic says:

    or make a car that drives on metal tracks, like those pickups that service the rail road. have an automatic depot system like a carwash that sets you up on the track. this system could be retro fitted to cars.

  12. Jordan says:

    @HackADay: typo in the last line. It says “to see the red on[sic] doing its thing.”

    Even if a foolproof method for laying down a followable path for self-driven cars existed, it would be insane to think about adding it to major roads, as well as hoping car manufacturers create standardized ‘followers’.

  13. Amos says:

    It’s already been done… for at least ten of the last thirteen years.


  14. nebulous says:

    Line detection is used in cars. I know my old new Citroen C4 had the option of Lane Departure Warning System (sadly not in my model), which buzzes the driver’s seat if the car traverses a road marking (like a lane on a highway) without a turn signal.

    But yeah, to use that to control the vehicle, no thank you.

  15. Notori0usAlpha says:

    Great writeup! we did this in college a few years back and didnt even come close to those times!

    As far as the off topic posts…. ill contribute to the deviation. :)

    You’re right about one thing. The gov’t will not approve this because they will be the authority in charge of it and already hate the amount of liability the have.

    I have driven coast to coast dozens of times, and no two states have the same road system, funding, or even architecture. THUS the need for all the expensive cameras and and sensors seems necessary. Lets not try and change the road, lets only change the car.

    Keep posting guys! who cares about sheer volume!?! thats what we want!!

  16. KnMn says:

    Am I the only person who thought about going out with a bucket of green paint and painting my own lines all over the road to see what would happen?

  17. SirPoonga says:

    @ LazyMegaMan
    Cars couldn’t rely solely on as line. What if the road gets dirty? Or some snow falls? There are many reasons it wouldn;t work for transportation in public.

    Now, on a closed system, like say a tour of a factory, sure. Look at Wall-E – robots do follow lines in factories now.

  18. NotMe says:

    Here done in 2003.


    No special Hardware, just an ATmega8.

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