When you consider the people making autonomous vehicles, you would normally assume the use of sophisticated tools and materials, and perhaps an entire engineering team. Hacker Sieuwe Elferink, however, converted a kids’ toy into a semi-autonomous off-road quad by himself, using little more than an angle grinder, welding machine, and zip-ties and pipe clamps.
The base of his vehicle is a Power Wheels-style all-terrain vehicle — which from the looks of it might have been his ride when he was a bit shorter. With this chassis selected, he then got to work cutting and bending metal into a frame for infrared line sensors that hang to the left and right of the vehicle, which are complimented by an ultrasound sensor attached to the original front bumper. The frame for the new components is attached via hose clamps, meaning the system can be removed if needed.
Sensor data is fed into an Arduino Nano board, which activates the existing motor to make the vehicle move via a custom H-bridge setup. Steering is accomplished using the set of relays, although a windshield wiper motor is added for control along with a system of two sprockets and a chain. As seen in the video below, while not ready for the highway yet, it can steer between a few lines of tape, and is able to stop for pedestrians and inanimate objects.