First post! This is very exciting. Over the last couple of weeks, and especially with the long weekends and bridging holidays in the Netherlands, I have been thinking of getting acquainted with AI/Machine Learning/Deep Learning techniques for autonomous cars and robots. What better way to do this than using an actual robot! I initially thought of building a robot from scratch, but while I was doing some research, I came upon the DIYRobocars community and the Donkeycar project.

The Donkey 2 Platform. (Source)

Donkeycar is an open source platform for building a DIY self-driving RC car and getting started with the tech required to get it driving autonomously. Really cool stuff. Exactly what I was hoping to learn from this.

All you need are the following parts and instructions to build the car.

  1. 1x HSP94186 RC car (Other RC cars can be used, but the 3D printed parts are designed for this car)
  2. 1x PCA9685 16-Channel I2C Servo driver
  3. 1x Raspberry Pi 3 B (Other boards such as RPi 3 B+, RPi Zero and NVidia Jetson Nano can be used)
  4. 1x Raspberry Pi Camera v2 (Fisheye)
  5. 1x 32GB microSD card for the Raspberry Pi
  6. 1x MPU 6050 Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)
  7. 1x 3D Printed Roll-cage
  8. 1x 3D Printed Base-plate
  9. 1x Portable power bank
  10. Nuts, bolts, screws, zip-ties, misc stuff to put it all together

That’s it! Most of these are available commercially and I was able to order them from Amazon Germany. The 3D parts can be found on Thingiverse and I got them printed from 3D Hubs. That’s everything, except for the car.

HSP 94186 RC Car Platform. (Source)

It was nearly impossible to find an HSP94186 platform in the Netherlands or nearby countries. I researched locally available alternatives but finally, I decided to order the car from Robocar Store in Hong Kong. (You can also purchase the entire Donkeycar kit there, but the cost of the full kit goes above the import value limits and you might have to pay customs in the Netherlands).

I had most of the parts already, but for the rest (including the car), I paid around 190 Euros. If I had to purchase everything, I estimate the cost to be around 250 Euros, including shipping to the Netherlands. Now that everything is purchased and on its way, I cannot wait for them to arrive and to finally start building my car!