There’s A Lot Packed Into This BeagleBoard Controlled Rover

That black box is hiding all kinds of goodies that make this rover a hacking playground. [Andrey] built the device around a BeagleBoard, which offers the processing power and modules that he needed to make the rest of it work.

The control unit shrinks the pilot down to the rover’s size, using a cockpit that has a steering wheel and other controls, and a monitor playing the stream from the camera on the front of the bot. It has a WiFi adapter which allows control via the Internet. The camera, which can be rotated thanks to its servo mounting, feeds the video to the BeagleBoard where it is compressed using the h264 codec (more about that and the cockpit here) to lighten the streaming load. You’ll also find an ultrasonic rangefinder on the front for obstacle avoidance, and a magnetic compass for orientation information. Finally, a GPS bolsters that data, allowing you to plot your adventures on the map.

It’s great, but it will cost you. Material estimates are North of five hundred Euros!

7 thoughts on “There’s A Lot Packed Into This BeagleBoard Controlled Rover

  1. half of the cost is the model car, the other half is beagleboard

    just watched their presentation, looks like all the work went into working around buggy incomplete omap4 h264 encoder (doesnt respect bitrate parameter)

    I soooooo hope we will get a library to use Rasppi h254 encoders

    1. > looks like all the work went into working around buggy incomplete omap4 h264 encoder

      Not really. In fact, part of the work went into implementing the way to monitor current state of the communication channel and take adaptation action – either reduce the size of the image or reduce the encoding bitrate. Bitrate indeed made some problems, but it is just one possible reaction on the degraded bandwidth ;-)

      The adaptive streaming was just one of many problems we solved. For example, COLLADA viewer library with animation support was quite a bit of work precise PWM generation, interfacing with, OpenGL/GLSL-based cockpit application and much more…

  2. Another Beagle-board equipped “rover” made a big splash in the GPS community recently because it utilized an innovative software approach to resolving GPS inaccuracies – RTKlib ( ) using affordable GPS hardware. RTKlib positional solutions can be accurate to under 10 cm.

  3. This is exactly what I have been looking for! I’ve got the same tank platform with a shelled eeepc+webcam, have been having multiple issues with GStreamer for video.

    Time to download, modify an compile, *crosses fingers*.

    I love Open Source hacking!!

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