Jetson RACECAR Part 8 – Custom Kernel and ROS Install

In the eighth part of the Jetson RACECAR build, we start on the RACECAR software component. We build a custom kernel for the Jetson and then we install ROS. Looky here:


During the Jetson RACECAR build, you noticed that we are adding various devices which need to be interfaced with the Jetson, such as a Razor IMU. While the Razor IMU hooks into the Jetson with a USB cable, you also know that you need to provide a FTDI driver. The FTDI driver is not present on the stock L4T kernel. What to do?

One alternative is to install the Grinch Kernel. That’s certainly a good answers to the problem. In our case there are other devices for which we need to add kernel support. One of the avenues that we’re going to explore is using an Intel RealSense camera, so we’ll need to modify the UVC driver.

One option is to modify the Grinch Kernel to add RealSense camera support. The procedure is the same as building a custom kernel, just remember to use the Grinch Kernel sources instead of the stock L4T sources.

In this case, we build a custom kernel. We’ll add the needed bits and pieces as we go along. This probably won’t be the only kernel build that we do on this project, but just the start of building what we need.


Note: The screen cast was recorded directly from a Jetson TK1. All commands being executed are running on the TK1.

There are two repositories on the JetsonHacks account on Github to help you build a custom kernel and install ROS.

$ git clone
$ git clone

Building a custom kernel is straightforward. There’s even an article about it already! The article covers building the custom kernel described in the above video. Normally I would duplicate the instructions here, but I’m way too lazy to do that. It’s the thought that counts.

Once the custom kernel has been configured and installed, it’s time to install the base ROS package. There is already an article to do that too!

You’re thinking at this point, “Is the installation in this article just pointers to already existing articles?” Yup.

This provides the base that we will be building on for the Jetson RACECAR.


Taking the first step for installing the Jetson RACECAR gets us to the point that we’re ready to start building all the separate control packages that will control the Jetson RACECAR. Having this base makes things much simpler going forward.

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