Design Your Own Self-Driving Car
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Saturday, 28 October 2017

We don't all have the money or time to build a self-driving car, but the software angle is still something you can have fun with. Who knows, you might even demonstrate that you can do it better. 

The unlikely named Gazebo is a simulator for robots running the Robot Operating System (ROS). In the past you have been able to use it to create simulations of any robot that made use of ROS, and that's quite a few.

A few days ago vehicle and city simulation was added and put on display at Open Robotics. 

"We built a fictitious world consisting of a handcrafted (via GIMP) terrain, and numerous freely available models on the Gazebo Model Database. Our vehicle of choice is a Prius Hybrid, the model of which consists of a power-train and full kinematic and dynamic simulation. Human models were also placed in the world to act as pedestrians.

You can find the source code for the city environment at https://bitbucket.org/osrf/citysim. This repository contains the world description, and a few plugins for traffic light control and visual effects.

While most of the capabilities required to run this demonstration exist in Gazebo8, we did leverage a few new capabilities, such as a joystick interface, that will appear in Gazebo9. Therefore, the citysim branch of Gazebo is also required."

 

 Take a look at the video presentation:

 

To be really honest it looks a little short on realism - what are the pedestrians doing? Even so, it still looks as if it would make a good project. 

Once you have discovered Gazebo it is well worth checking out some of the other ready made simulations. You can also build a simulation of a robot that you haven't yet completed and transfer the code to a real physical device in due course.

 

carsim

More Information

Gazebo

Robot Operating System (ROS)

Gazebo Beginner: Overview

C++ API for programmatic control
Learn TurtleBot and ROS

Introduction to Robotics with ROS Course 

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 October 2017 )