Startup Confusion

Hello all,
First timer with the Donkey Car, but not my first robot car. My first robot car was an 8052AH-BASIC Based car, with 8255 ports, and plenty of sensors to detect just about anything. I built my first robot car some years ago, and lately, discovered ROS. So, keeping up with technology, I’d like to give it a go once more, and discover all the new advancements in hobbyist robotics (trust me, its come a long way since my first build).

Ok, so what I’m wondering is this:
I discovered the Donkey Car ROS series with Tiziano Fiorenzani and followed through with the first tutorial. Tiziano’s tutorials are a good way to get started with ROS, by the way. I actually started the ROS tutorials, which gave me basic concepts, but Tiziano’s tutorials gave me the practical application that I needed. Tiziano’s tutorials led me to the Donkey Car Website, and additional help and software.

I had a look through the instructions at the Donkey Car site, and it seems as though the software has “nothing” to do with ROS (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong here), but rather Python.

My confusion comes in at which path to take in order to get the Donkey Car up and running: The Tiziano ROS tutorials, or the Donkey Car Python on the Donkey Car site.

I’d like to hear from users what their experiences have been so far. I’d prefer ROS, and certainly appreciate the efforts made by the Donkey Car community to make the Python software and extensive documentation available. My goals are to eventually run the Donkey Car by remote camera, and perhaps even add LIDAR.

Thank you for your time and suggestions.


I think your confusion lies in how Tiziano talks about Donkey Car as a hardware platform and does not do anything to clarify that it is a hardware platform ‘designed specifically for CNN based donkey software’.

So if you watched and read about his tutorial it was all about using ROS on the hardware and nothing about the Donkey software.

Now it is 100% possible to use Donkey within ROS and a few have done it already. Look at the github repo for a branch for ROS. I don’t know if it’s been updated and there are not any step-by-step instructions that I know of so it’s on you to know/learn enough to figure it out. That is unless you find a group willing to walk you through the process.

If you’ve already built the hardware part of the Donkey Car and went through Tiziano’s ROS tutorial you should know by now the hardware is just an RC car with a rPi bolted on it and using I2C to send RC Servo type PWM commands to the car via a PCA9685 driver board. The Donkey software is what makes it a Donkey Car.