Go Big Or Go Home – This Arduino RC Car Can Take You There

Whether we like it or not, eventually the day will come where we have to admit that we outgrew our childhood toys — unless, of course, we tech them up in the name of science. And in some cases we might get away with simply scaling things up to be more fitting for an adult size. [kenmacken] demonstrates how to do both, by building himself a full-size 1:1 RC car. No, we didn’t forget a digit here, he remodeled an actual Honda Civic into a radio controlled car, and documented every step along the way, hoping to inspire and guide others to follow in his footsteps.

To control the Civic with a standard RC transmitter, [kenmacken] equipped it with a high torque servo, some linear actuators, and an electronic power steering module to handle all the mechanical aspects for acceleration, breaking, gear selection, and steering. At the center of it all is a regular, off-the-shelf Arduino Uno. His write-up features plenty of videos demonstrating each single component, and of course, him controlling the car — which you will also find after the break.

[kenmacken]’s ultimate goal is to eventually remove the radio control to build a fully autonomous self-driving car, and you can see some initial experimenting with GPS waypoint driving at the end of his tutorial. We have seen the same concept in a regular RC car before, and we have also seen it taken further using neural networks. Considering his background in computer vision, it will be interesting to find out which path [kenmacken] will go here in the future.

26 thoughts on “Go Big Or Go Home – This Arduino RC Car Can Take You There

  1. I love how it still has number plates on it – it’s not like it’s legal to use on the road any more.

    Given there is space inside for more equipment it would be great to put some Wi-Fi cameras inside and make it a 1st person POV driving setup

    1. …Does this technically make it illegal for road use? All the systems are there. I’m pretty sure this would pass inspection around where I live. It’s not like they specify that a steering system requires a wheel instead of a thumbstick.

      1. Not sure where you live, but a lot of DOT vehicle codes DO specify a “Direct mechanical linkage between the operator and the method of steering” (which is why 4-wheel hydraulic steering is illegal for on-road use, for example).

          1. There is only one production car that has ever had drive by wire steering (the q50) and it had a mechanical linkage as a backup. They’ve since gone back to a traditional hydraulic system.

  2. Is an 8-bit AVR controller really the best choice for a full-sized car?

    It might be a good idea to pick something with at least hardware AES, for one thing…oh to be a HAM on the wall near where this person is testing.

  3. I remember a full-size 4×4 car had been converted into an RC car with some added autonomous capability for one of the Sparkfun yearly autonomous vehicle challenges that includes drones and what not.

    I also remember a farmer who’d been active on the Ardupilot forums who’d often post videos of how he used an APM or pixhawk board to steer his combine and do the driving for him along waypoints and even managed to remotely control that arm that transfers the grain onto a truck while he was driving the truck himself matching the combine’s speed. He may have documented the project.

    Also one of the popular monster truck shows that had been on a tour through europe featured a full-size car converted into an RC Lightning McQueen and they’d invite a kid to the arena and let him slowly steer the car with a normal-looking RC transmitter for a while, though this could be fake in many ways.

  4. Somehow, I don’t think that vehicle is going to pass inspection with Queensland Transport.

    (Looking at the plates, can’t make out the text between the rego number itself; but it looks to be the classical maroon on white that is fairly standard here in Queensland.)

  5. Come on people, doesn’t anyone here appreciate a good hack anymore? Look around that yard. I assume he owns it. He seems to have ample room to perform such tests. If he loses control what is he going to hit? I’d say almost for sure one of his own trees with maybe a small possibility of hitting his own house or garage and a very tiny possibility of hitting himself.

    It’s not like he is doing this on the public streets or in a postage stamp sized city yard where the car could easily end up running over his neighbors.

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