Section 300 & 400: Self-Driving Cars, Drones, and Beyond: An Intro to Autonomous Electronic Systems

Project: Learn, develop, and implement key functionalities in autonomous electronic systems to manage sensing, data acquisition and processing, and motion control

Autonomous systems such as quad copters and self-driving cars are being used today in a wide range of applications; ranging from helping first responders, to smart farming, to driving you to work, to delivering goods to your home.

Much of their functionality depends on their embedded electronics, which sense, analyze, and react to changing goals and environments. These systems act and make decisions in cooperation with or without explicit guidance from a human operator. The following cycle of actions is central to these systems.

  1. Sensors measure motion, distances to obstacles, and other data.
  2. Circuits convert the different signals into a uniform format and make all the data accessible to an embedded computer.
  3. Signal processing algorithms extract useful, actionable information from the raw data.
  4. Control algorithms make decisions based on these data to adjust outputs such as propeller speeds, maintain motion stability, and ensure safety.

In this section, you’ll develop, change, and implement electronic systems to manage each of these actions. The end result: an autonomous vehicle that responds to changes in its environment while carrying out a complex task such as following along by your side.