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This robot car accepts voice commands or operates autonomously

Arduino TeamMay 8th, 2023

The fantastic thing about Arduino boards and maker hardware as a whole is that they make creativity accessible. Just a few decades ago, it would take serious expertise and a generous budget to build even a simple robot. But with the technology available today, Parikshit Pagare was able to create this robot car that can be controlled manually, by voice, or operate autonomously.

Pagare started with the kind of RC car that you can find at any toy store or online retailer. That provided a platform to build upon, with a frame, wheels, and motors. But the original RC control was very rudimentary, which is why he replaced all of the electronics. The upgraded vehicle has an Arduino Uno that controls the two DC motors through L298N motor drivers. An HC-05 modules allows for Bluetooth® communication with a smartphone and an ultrasonic sensor mounted on a servo arm provides some feedback.

A custom Android app, developed with the MIT App Inventor platform, enables the different control modes. The manual mode lets the user operate the vehicle directly, just like the original RC control. The voice mode lets the user speak commands like “move forward.” Before following such commands, the robot checks the ultrasonic sensor to ensure that there isn’t an obstacle in the way. In autonomous mode, the robot will perform its own pathfinding with the help of the ultrasonic sensor, similar to a Roomba.