Low-Cost Autonomous Car is Inspired by Insects

    A team of five students at Washington University in St. Louis placed among the top 10 teams and won $750 in an international robotics competition in China. The team’s autonomous vehicle, called the FlowBot, is inspired by the way insects use an optical flow method to navigate and avoid obstacles in an agile manner. The base model is called the Pi car because it uses Raspberry Pi, a palm-sized computer that costs about $30; a Raspberry Pi camera that costs about $15; and two motors. The team began building the Pi car as a model on which others could use to build their own autonomous car using the team’s code, which is available on GitHub.

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