RC Car - following tape using sensors

Hey guys, definitely a newbie here and I really don't know much about this stuff. I have a school project where we have to control an RC car autonomously. So my groups idea was to lay down tape and use sensors attached to the car to follow the tape. Is there a special sensor I need? Also, I don't know much about coding the car or anything so is there any advice on that that you guys have? Sorry for such a novice post. Thanks in advance.

Did it occur to you to try using Google to search for the information ?

I have already read that article. I just don't know what kind of sensor to get for it to be able to sense the tape. I literally know nothing about coding so I didn't know if I even need to code it or where to begin. I copied code to test the motor and it works fine. I just need to know what sensors to purchase and any tips on code to meet my goal.

Maybe one of these can help:
http://www.instructables.com/howto/line+follower/

Seriously, how long do you have to spend on this as to deadline weeks and hours per week?

No, you don't have to code the project. You could wire the thing directly, electro-mechanical, if the drive motor and steering are straight DC. But you would need to know or learn basic DC electric (which you would with a controller too) unless you can find a "cookbook recipe".

What is the object of the class project? Teach students to find and copy from the internet? Please if you could relay to your teacher that if that is so then the course is the kind of crap that's running the world to the trash heap, okay?

If you do have a long lead time then don't waste it because you have a lot to learn!

I don't know much about coding the car or anything so is there any advice on that that you guys have?

[ Is there a special sensor I need? ](http://Is there a special sensor I need?)

Can't help with the code. You'll just have to google it.

No, you don't have to code the project. You could wire the thing directly, electro-mechanical,

I don't think that would fly with their computer class professor.

What is the object of the class project? Teach students to find and copy from the internet? Please if you could relay to your teacher that if that is so then the course is the kind of crap that's running the world to the trash heap, okay?

I love it ! In fact I copy & pasted it into a notepad file for future use. (Can I quote you ?)

This is the comment I usually use:

We don't mind helping you but we won't do all of the work for you. Please post what you've already done including any ideas you've had and we might be able to make some suggestions. If you've got completely no idea then may be it's your lecuturer's fault and it isn't right that you make him/her look good by cheating and copying from the Internet.

raschemmel:

No, you don't have to code the project. You could wire the thing directly, electro-mechanical,

I don't think that would fly with their computer class professor.

What computer class? What professor?

We are told of a class project but what is the class? I sure HOPE that intro to programming doesn't start with "make a robot car". This student knows zero about coding and apparently there is no programming requisite to the course.

We don't even know what year/grade this student is in or what background knowledge he/she can draw upon.

So the simple thing would be a wired automation using transistors as AND gates where needed.

BTW, the Sparkfun sensor is nice but an IR or other led, resistors and IR or light detector cost far less... IIRC even at Radio $hack. But you'd have to put them together and make it work which that sensor module has done already.

Note that the line follower bot they show uses 3 of the line follower sensors, $9 right there. Yeah, I could do better for less :stuck_out_tongue: but then I have a lot of background to draw upon.

I have a school project where we have to control an RC car autonomously.

My bad. Silly of me to think that an autonomous car would use a uC. What was I thinking ?

raschemmel:

I have a school project where we have to control an RC car autonomously.

My bad. Silly of me to think that an autonomous car would use a uC. What was I thinking ?

It doesn’t need one if you use DC motors.
It’s funny how many $20+ solutions there are to $2 to $5 problems.

I don’t know much about coding the car or anything so is there any advice on that that you guys have? Sorry for such a novice post.

I guess it was this comment that threw me off track…

raschemmel:

I don't know much about coding the car or anything so is there any advice on that that you guys have? Sorry for such a novice post.

I guess it was this comment that threw me off track...

You may be right. I'd be thinking some sort of sci/tech/eng course in HS or freshman uni.

BTW, check this out: Build a SpurtBot Line Follower : 18 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables
I'd drive the wheels a bit differently (motor axle with heat shrink directly on the wheel), and use different wheels but this one is even simpler than I was thinking!
Note it only turns to the right, a line follower than W.F.Buckley could love!

Did you see the "newer" instructable ?

Still no MCU. 8)

Still no MCU

That's to save time so they don't have to post on the forum to ask someone to write their code for them.

It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper and quicker!

I learned basic electricity and some electronics over 40 years ago. We learned to wire up automation circuits, even logic gates and flip-flops from discrete parts and tubes along with transistors. It’s amazing how much can be done with simple, cheap parts and wires though at some point a package like an AVR, even an ATtiny, can replace a load of those. But for simple shizzle, direct circuits are the way to go.

You mean like this ?

Tribute 82 Photos.pdf (829 KB)

That's not simple shizzle. Shizzle, yes. Simple, no.

I know you will find this hard to believe but both of those controllers worked perfectly on the first test. (lucky, I guess....)

Maybe some small part luck but I think I saw some very thorough work and not just a few chips.
Somehow I doubt all that is just to run a line follower!

I just can't see replacing a dollar or so in parts with a dev board and a bunch of code to do the same job.

GoForSmoke:
I just can't see replacing a dollar or so in parts with a dev board and a bunch of code to do the same job.

That's all very true, but it's a class assignment So they'll learn the analog-->digital-->analog version rather than pure analog. The digital version they'll have a lot more -options- over how to control motion rather than messing with Rs and Cs and adding more analog stuff to -modify- the vehicle behavior, which the digital version can modify in a couple lines of code. There're tradeoffs all around. It doesn't really matter -which- path they take as long as they -understand- it and not simply copy/paste everything. Either version is probably about the same amount of time to figure out, depending more on the background of whatever kind of coaching they have than anything else..