Programming your first Arduino controlled robot will introduce you to interactions with real things – motors and sensors. The hardware and software platform you build in this project can go on to form the basis of lots of fun and challenging projects.
Arduino is a widely available open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. The Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) provides a means to edit programmes and upload them to a variety of physical boards. The Arduino programming language is built upon C++, so advanced users can build complex code and in particular libraries, but at first much of the complexity of this is hidden from the user. Many libraries are available to support a variety of devices which can be connected to Arduino platforms – these greatly simplify their use as beginners can easily include the appropriate libraries and focus on the functionality that they want to achieve without having to get into the detail of the hardware. We will be using libraries where available to support this project.
Tips for use
This project is based on a very cheap Arduino 2 wheel drive “smart robot car chassis kit” which is readily available (just search on the internet). The plastic chassis comes with wheels, motors, caster and a battery holder for 4xAA 1.5V cells. Other than the obvious need for an Arduino e.g. Leonardo (but virtually any will do) a motor driver must be added. We used the DRV8835 Dual Motor Driver Shield for Arduino made by Pololu but available around the world through various distributors.