Mechatronics Exercises

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RC Car Line Follower

RC Car Line Follower


The objective of the project is to turn a RC car into a line follower. We are planning to accomplish this by adding some sensors and a microcontroller to control the steering. We already have a Nikko RC car and we are trying to use as many existing parts as possible to lower the expenses.


Project team

Our team consists of three mechanical engineering students. We are all studying for the fifth year and every one of us has a major in Mechanical Design and minor in Mechatronics.

Team members:

Ari-Matti Vaari

Joonas Mälkönen

Matti Pajula


Starting point

Current status in the project at this point is that we have verified that the RC car we have is functioning correctly. We tested the steering unit and the RC motor and both of them were working. RC controller is missing, but it shouldn’t be needed after altering the system and integrating the microcontroller, probably arduino. We are yet to decide the exact line following principle, but we have some ideas that we need to further think about. One option is to use light reflection sensors so, that the difference in reflection on the tape and the surrounding would be measured and that information would be used for following the line. Another suitable option would be using a specific color sensors, but more research needs to be done before deciding the way to go on.

The main target of the project is to get the line following to function correctly. It should be reliable enough so that the car won’t stray from the line. A secondary goal for the project is to get the car to follow the line correctly even on higher speeds, preferably on the maximum speed. Another secondary goal is to make the line following as smooth as possible. This means especially finetuning the code for controlling the steering. It would also be nice to be able to remotely control the arduino to adjust the speed and to start or stop the car. One way to accomplish this could be by using wifi. Also an automatic speed controlling system would be a nice to have alternative, so that the car would automatically slow down on tight turns and speed up on easier paths. Besides the concrete targets, we also decided learning more about microcontrollers and sensors to be a learning objective for the project.



First task to do is to investigate our RC car as well as we can, which will give us the information of the possibilities and constraints that it offers us. Next step after that is to study other similar projects that are already made. Those might give us tips how to approach the problem and which kind of problems we might face during the project.

After knowing what we have, the component selection can be started. With the information we have now, it can be said that we need at least arduino board, arduino motor driver and sensor/sensor that can provide us information about the path of the car. Since we have the parts needed, the building of our product will be started as soon as possible. All assemblies made will done to the RC car we have, meaning that separate prototype will not be built. In all stages such as coding and circuit board building etc. we try to use as much ready made solutions to save time and ensure the functionality of the product.

Final step of the project is the testing of the product. Preliminary test plans are that the functionality of the product will be tested in different tracks and driving in different speed. Main purpose of the testing is to ensure that the product works in various environments and can perform in sufficient speed.   




8.2  Project plan ready

12.2 Research and ideation ready and needed part ordered

1.3 circuit diagrams and design ready

19.3 Assembly and connections ready. Line follower  works somehow

19.3 - 9.4 Fine adjustment

9.4 Ready to Mechatronic circus




We have Google drive folder for research and planning. Final documents will be shared to Aalto Wiki.




Preliminary budget:


11 €  Xrduino

13 € Ardumoto L298P Motor Driver Shield for Arduino

6 € 3x Line Hunting Sensor Module or 17 €  3x Color Sensor Detector Module

2.5 €  Solderless Breadboard

2.5 € 9V Battery Snap Connector

10 € Assembly pieces/ 3D printing

40 € Wifi Shield Module for Arduino

Total  = 85-96 €


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PNG File image2015-2-8 14:49:6.png Feb 08, 2015 by Ari-Matti Vaari