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Open-Source 4WD AI Robot Kit Compatible with Raspberry Pi Models 4 and 5

Mar 22, 2024 — by Giorgio Mendoza 1,466 views

The RaspRover by Waveshare is an open-source four-wheel-drive robotic platform constructed with an all-aluminum body. Designed to accommodate technical enthusiasts and developers, it features a dual-controller system and the option of adding a pan-tilt module for camera integration.

The main host controller utilizes either a Raspberry Pi 4B or Raspberry Pi 5, handling AI vision and strategic planning tasks. In contrast, the sub-controller leverages an ESP32 microcontroller for various operational controls. These include motor PID control, IMU sensor management, OLED display operations, servo control, and LED state management.

RaspRover with Raspberry Pi & ESP32-controller integration
(click image to enlarge)

Constructed with a 2mm-thick all-aluminum chassis, the RaspRover offers a sturdy and resilient structure. It is equipped with soft, anti-skid rubber tires and N20 encoder motors that facilitate closed-loop speed control. The chassis’s shock-absorbing capabilities are noteworthy, with the robot capable of achieving speeds up to 0.65 meters per second.

Visual processing is managed via a camera-serial interface (CSI) port for the Raspberry Pi 4 variant and a USB camera for the Raspberry Pi 5 variant. These cameras support the real-time transmission of high-frame-rate video.

RaspRover Driver board
(click image to enlarge)

The Pan-Tilt version of the RaspRover includes a 2-DoF high-torque pan-tilt mechanism paired with a 5 MP 160° wide-angle camera, facilitating a broad range of AI vision functionalities. An integrated high-brightness LED light ensures image clarity even in diminished lighting conditions.

The robot integrates a built-in 3S lithium UPS module. Note, the required three 18650 lithium batteries are not included and must be purchased separately. This power module allows for concurrent charging and discharging, providing consistent operational uptime for the robot.

RaspRover Audio Driver board
(click image to enlarge)

Reserved space on the robot’s mounting plate and the provision of a tactical rail offer convenient avenues for expanding with additional tactical peripherals. The driver board on the robot includes onboard 12V switch interfaces for peripheral control, and the structure supports the installation of 4G/5G modules for extended connectivity options.

The Wiki page for this product includes a brief JupyterLab web application tutorial for interfacing with the device.

RaspRover kit
(click image to enlarge)

Further Information

The RaspRover, equipped with the pan-tilt module and designed for integration with the Raspberry Pi 5 SBC, is priced at $229.99. This price does not include the cost of the RPi 5. In contrast, the version of the RaspRover tailored for use with the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC is available for $219.99, with the SBC sold separately.

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