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Unmanned Ground Vehicle Rover for Raspberry Pi 4 & 5 SBCs

Apr 23, 2024 — by Giorgio Mendoza 406 views

Waveshare has introduced the UGV Rover, a platform designed for compatibility with the widely-used Raspberry Pi SBCs, models 4 and 5. This open-source platform is geared towards robotics and navigation applications, equipped with a 5MP camera and Lidar support for an array of programmable functionalities.

Similar to the Waveshare RaspRover covered in March, this platform uses a dual-controller design with the Raspberry Pi 4B/5 as its primary host controller for AI and vision tasks, while the ESP32 sub-controller manages sensor data processing and real-time operations.

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The kits vary primarily by the inclusion of a pan-tilt module and the presence of the host controller. The pan-tilt module equipped kits come with additional high-torque servos.


UGV Rover host controller & sub-controller
(click image to enlarge)

Featuring a robust 2mm aluminum body and 80mm shock-absorbing rubber tires, the UGV Rover is designed for stability and durability. Its 6-wheel drive system enhances maneuverability, and a versatile mounting plate supports add-ons like LIDAR.

The sub-controller’s high-frequency PID closed-loop speed control enables swift and precise movement, achieving speeds of up to 0.5m/s. The pan-tilt version, slightly larger and heavier, incorporates additional high-torque servos for expanded functionality.


UGV Rover host other features
(click image to enlarge)

A 5MP wide-angle camera is central to the UGV Rover’s vision capabilities, supporting OpenCV and MediaPipe integrations for complex vision processing tasks such as object and gesture recognition.

Designed to operate with 18650 lithium batteries, the UGV Rover includes a UPS Module for continuous power supply. Its energy management system ensures that the platform can sustain extended operational periods.

The platform is equipped with an audio driver board and dual-track speakers for interactive audio feedback. It supports text-to-speech and audio playback, essential for user interaction and alerts.


UGV Rover Motor & Audio Driver board
(click image to enlarge)

Remote operation is facilitated through a web application, compatible with standard browsers, which provides for high-frame-rate video transmission and AI-enhanced computer vision functionalities.

Waveshare mentions they will provide tutorials of Ngrok only, but they won’t provide any Ngrok accounts or Servers.

For inter-robot communication, the ESP-NOW protocol enables low-latency interactions without the need for IP or MAC addresses, while the design also allows for 4G/5G module expansions.


WaveShare UGB Rover kit
(click image to enlarge)

The product specifications state that the rover is compatible with Debian Bookworm and ROS2-HUMBLE-LTS, and it also supports JupyterLab. Although Waveshare promises to offer multiple examples to assist with getting started, the Wiki page for these resources is not available as of the publication date.

Further information:

The UGV Rover PI4B AI Kit and the UGV Rover PI5 AI Kit are priced at $294.99 each; this price does not include the Raspberry Pi 4 and features a pan-tilt module with a US power plug. Similar configurations that exclude the pan-tilt module, the cost is reduced to $244.99. For more details, visit the Waveshare website.

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