DriveSafe - Automatic collision avoidance using Apple's AR kit

Finalist at MakeMIT 2019

Modern vehicles include many examples of cutting-edge technology that helps to keep drivers safe. However, these improvements will take many more years to roll out to the majority of consumers. We hope to shorten this adoption time by providing a similar service to anyone with a smartphone.

Drive Safe is a mobile app that uses computer vision to detect when collisions are about to occur. The user places their phone on the dashboard facing the roadway, and the phone communicates wirelessly with a microchip capable of stopping the vehicle if a collision is imminent.

This project includes three main components. The iOS app was made using Swift and Apple's ARKit. The app takes input from the camera and plots points of interest in 3D. The app then delivers this spatial information to a web server that is plugged into the main control bus of the vehicle. This web server interprets the spatial input and issues commands to the vehicle.

Finally, for the actual demo, we hacked a toy RC car to respond to the same API used by our web server. This vehicle can be controlled via remote by an external user but is never allowed to crash.

My personal contribution to the project was building the demo remote control car. The original car was not powerful enough to drive forward with the added weight, so I built a custom power delivery system. The final system has three batteries: a 3.3V battery that powers the remote control signals, a 9V battery that powers the microcontroller and power control signals, and a 6V battery that powers the drive motors. The additional power is delivered to the motors via a hand-built H-Bridge.

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