DIY Self-Driving - Build updates


Please Note:  Unlike most of my projects which are fully complete before they are published, this project is as much a build diary as anything else.  Whilst I am attempting to clearly document the processes, this is not a step-by-step guide, and later articles may well contradict earlier instructions.

If you decide you want to duplicate my build, please read through all the relevant articles before you start.

This post is an update to the build and testing article, rather than a brand new chapter.  Because I learned a whole load of things during early testing I think it's worth sharing at this point:

New Camera Mounting

I was never happy with the way that the camera was literally stuck onto the car, because it just looked, well, wrong.  In the end, I cut a slot into the bonnet (hood) just big enough to clear the camera down to the lens body.  Still not perfect because I need to mould a cover, but better than blu-tak

New camera mount and an access port

 Access port

The next thing corrects a really dumb mistake on my part.  When the covers are all back in place, how to we charge up the electronics batteries?  Fortunately the grille halves pop out and I was able to cut a 60mm hole with a hole-saw behind it.  Extending the cables from the battery gives me charger access

No more Ethernet

With a little searching, I fitted a D-Link DWA-131 USB Wireless adapter into the car.  This means I don't need an Ethernet port to talk to the Raspberry Pi anymore.  Of course if I'd used a Mk 3 board I wouldn't have this problem anyway but I didn't have one handy.

If you go down that road, you need to manually update /etc/network/interfaces so that it points to the wpa_supplicant.conf file or you won't connect at all, even though you added the network via raspi-conf.

Automated Builds

This is for the software, not the car itself.  Previously I needed to load all the development tools onto the Raspberry Pi and compile natively, which is rather a slow and some might say painful process.  Since I use Jenkins in my day-to-day work it was a matter of using another Raspberry Pi I had on hand as a build node.  When completed it pushes the libraries and executables to a JFrog Artifactory instance.  Now I just need to copy the files down to the car and it's all done.

Overkill? Yes.  But you have to agree it looks good

More Power!

The 1.3Ah main battery has been giving me grief, so I added a second one because there was plenty of space under the seat.  My tests so far show I should get over an hour of running time now.



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