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BeagleBone Black project spotlight:

By Natalie Nelms

You don’t have to be a child to play with remote-controlled cars. The BeagleROV is an exciting toy that would bring any adult Maker back to the good ole’ days – except this robot packs a bit more punch than the classic Nascar minis. Powered by the TI Sitara AM335x processor-based BeagleBone Black, the BeagleROV has a multitude of capabilities that are all controlled remotely via the robot’s web application.

In addition to the vehicle’s remotely controlled technology, the BeagleROV includes the following features:
• Wi-Fi access to the web app with an adhoc Wi-Fi network
• Real-time video processing with OpenCV
• GPIO management to drive MOSFET actuators
• Ultrasonic distance sensor reading

This car definitely isn’t your granddad’s model.

When asked why he developed this machine, creator Fabio Balzano explained that he wanted to create a dynamic robot. “My company is working in this kind of research and development, and we are especially interested in autonomous UAVs and ROVs,” explained Balzano.

The development of this vehicle did not come without complications, however. “The HUB USB power wires were cut to prevent USB host port power down,” detailed Balzano on the challenges of building his robot. “I was able to solve this problem, though, by soldering a custom cape to connect all of the I/O.”

The BeagleROV’s technology also transcends the confines of the Earth’s surface and has been utilized in underwater exploration. The marine version of the robot is able to collect imaging and sample data from depths of up to 1,000 meters below the surface, which has sufficiently helped organizations like Marine Applied Research and Exploration gather the information that they need to learn more about the oceanic habitat. The ability of BeagleBone Black to support OpenCV real-time video processing really comes into play here as explorers look to stream live footage of the ever-intriguing mystery that is the sea.

Looking towards the future, Fabio and his team plan to develop a more advanced and improved version of this robot. The BeagleROV has proven to not only serve as a hobbyist project, but has also shown to be beneficial in the exploration of our wondrous planet. It is an exciting time for the BeagleROV team and we are eager to see what future models will be capable of.

For more information on the BeagleROV and for a detailed look at the code that Fabio implemented in the vehicle, you can visit the project’s site at: Want to collaborate or need help with your project? Feel free to contact Fabio at:

Want to chat with us about this project? Tweet us at @BeagleBoardOrg!

Last updated by nelms.natalie on Mon Nov 10 2014 15:40:43 GMT-0000 (UTC).