A handy Redditor has made a really cool Arduino-powered toy R/C car that can dip, move, and drift almost exactly like a real car. (And it’s decked out with an awesome-looking 1963 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 Wagon shell, to boot.)
Seriously, watch this thing take a few turns. I’ve never seen an R/C car move like this — it realistically leans into turns and drifts, almost like a stunt car driven in a movie. Most R/C cars don’t move with quite the same illusion of weight.
This next GIF is pretty cool, too, showing how the car can bounce side to side and “fire” up its exhaust pipes as if it was revving up. It also gives you a brief look of what’s under the hood, so to speak:
The maker of the car, Dimitar Tilev, says that this realistic movement is possible due to an accelerometer and four servo motors connected to an Arduino programmable circuit board that create an active suspension system. An active suspension system can actively adjust itself, usually to keep the car as stable as possible, but in this case, the system actively raises and lowers each of the wheels in ways that simulate the movements and weight of a full-size car.
If someone floors it in a real car, for example, it can feel as if the car’s nose rises up a bit and you get thrown back in your seat. Or if someone takes a hard turn, you might feel the car lean into that turn. The system in the R/C car uses an accelerometer to replicate those movements, detecting acceleration on the X and Y axes and sending that data to the Arduino. Depending on how the car is moving, the four servo motors at the wheels can extend different heights to simulate what a real car would look like in a similar situation.
Here’s the guts of the car — it’s got a lot of tech packed into it.
If you want to know more about what makes the car go, you should read all of the nitty-gritty details on Tilev’s blog. And if you want to buy something like it, you might be able to someday. Tilev says he plans to find a way to sell something similar to this first design, though with some changes, and if you want to follow the progress of that, he says he’ll share updates on this Facebook page.