Jetson Based Autonomous Race Car – University of Pennsylvania

mLab at the University of Pennsylvania has built a website for building an Autonomous Race Car (ARC). The compute platform of the race car is a Jetson TK1. Looky here:


mLab (Real-Time & Embedded Systems Lab) promotes competition with the autonomous 1/10th scale F1 race cars through the website:

The competition involves designing, building, and testing the cars facilitated by lectures and reading material available as an online teaching kit. The online lectures and tutorials are in-depth and provide a comprehensive overview of both building the car and the theory behind the control systems used to control the car. Lectures and tutorials are also provided as background for building Simultaneous Localization and Maping (SLAM) capabilities.

The lectures and course material are provided here:

The computation system consists of a Jetson TK1 which runs Robot Operating System (ROS). The vehicle chassis is a Traxxas 74076 Rally R/C car. The complete bill of materials for the car are available on the website, along with build instructions.

Readers of this website will recognize the above components as the basis for both the MIT RACECAR and the Jetson RACECAR that we’ve been building. In fact, the sensors on the UPenn car are basically the same ones used on the MIT RACECAR.

Autonomous Race Car - UPenn
Autonomous Race Car – UPenn


It’s great to see university level explanations of PID controllers and SLAM algorithms for this application online and freely available. That alone is worth the price of admission, even if you don’t build a car for yourself. Having the instructions for actually building a vehicle for your own use is icing on the cake!

As we start the next part of the Jetson RACECAR build, we’ll examine the differences (and the similarities) of the UPenn and the MIT cars, and see what take aways we can “borrow” for the Jetson RACECAR. We might have a trick up our sleeves that we can use, we’ll see how that goes.

1 Comment on Jetson Based Autonomous Race Car – University of Pennsylvania

  1. This is great to have so much info available; that helps all builders! By the way, a “shout out” to NVIDIA for replacing my Jetson TX1 that I damaged with a power plug. They sent a new one, no charge! Now that’s customer service!

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