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Self-Driving Cars with Duckietown

The first robotics and AI MOOC with scale-model self-driving cars. Learn state-of-the-art autonomy with your own real robot (Duckiebot).

This course is archived
Estimated 14 weeks
2–4 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

Autonomy and AI are all around us, revolutionizing our daily lives. Autonomous vehicles have a huge potential to impact society in the near future. Have you ever wondered how autonomous vehicles really work?

With this course, you will start from a box of parts and finish with a scaled self-driving car that drives autonomously in your living room. In the process, you will use state-of-the-art approaches, the latest software tools and real hardware in an engaging hands-on learning experience.

Self-driving cars with Duckietown is a practical introduction to vehicle autonomy. It explores real-world solutions to the theoretical challenges of automation, including their implementation in algorithms and their deployment in simulation as well as on hardware. Using modern software architectures built with Python, Robot Operating System (ROS) and Docker, you will appreciate the complementary strengths of classical architectures and modern machine learning-based approaches. The scope of this introductory course is to go from zero to having a self-driving car safely driving on a road.

This course is presented by Professors and Scientists who are passionate about robotics and accessible education. It uses the Duckietown robotic ecosystem, an open-source platform created at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and now used in over 80 universities worldwide.

We support a track for students to deploy their solutions in a simulation environment and an option for learners to engage in the tangible, hands-on learning experience by procuring a low-cost Jetson Nano-powered Duckiebot kit, e.g., from here.

This course is made possible thanks to the support of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), in collaboration with the University of Montreal (Prof. Liam Paull), the Duckietown Foundation, and the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (Prof. Matthew Walter).

Course created with support from

University of MontrealDuckietown FoundationToyota Technological Institute at Chicago

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

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After this course you will be able to program your Duckiebots to navigate (without accidents!) in road lanes of a model city with rubber-duckies-pedestrians-obstacles using predominantly computer vision based techniques. Moreover, you will:

  • recognize essential robot subsystems (sensing, actuation, computation, memory, mechanical) and describe their functions

  • make your Duckiebot drive in arbitrary user-specified paths

  • understand how to command a robot to reach a goal position

  • make your Duckiebot do autonomous decision making according to "traditional approaches" (estimation, planning, control)

  • make your Duckiebot do autonomous decision making according to "modern approaches" (imitation learning, reinforcement learning, deep learning)

  • process streams of images

  • be able to set up an efficient software environment for robotics with state of the art tools (Docker, ROS, Python)

  • program your Duckiebot and make it safely drive in empty roads lanes

  • program your Duckiebot and make it recognize obstacles such as rubber duckies

  • program your Duckiebot and make it avoid obstacles such as rubber duckies

  • program your Duckiebot and make it safely drive down roads with pedestrian duckies

Additional goals (require hardware)

  • independently assemble a Duckiebot and a Duckietown

  • remotely operate your Duckiebot and see with its eye(s)

  • be able to discuss differences between theory, simulation and real word implementation for different approaches

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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