Review: SunFounder Smart Video Car Kit for Raspberry Pi

May 20, 2018 | 11:00

What is it?

The kit that we will try out in this article is the ‘Smart Video Car Kit for Raspberry Pi’ manufactured by Sunfounder. As the name of the kit suggests, a (colour) video camera is included. Also, as the use of ‘for’ implies, the Raspberry Pi (RPi) is not included, but a Wi-Fi dongle is. The ‘Smart’ probably refers to the clever software the RPi can execute.

 
The assembled kit.

The car is remotely controlled over Wi-Fi and out of the box (after fully assembling it first, of course) it has the functions ‘move forward’, ‘move backward’, ‘go left’, and ‘go right’ plus ‘pan’ and ‘tilt’ for the camera.

The remote control is a computer (Windows, Linux, Mac, other) with Python 2.7 installed and a web browser (and, of course, a Wi-Fi connection). There is also an Android app.

Not in the kit

Although the kit is pretty complete, the user must add:
  • 2x 18650-type li-ion 3.7-volt batteries (1000 mAh minimum)
  • microSD card (8 GB)
  • Raspberry Pi

Tools needed

The tools required to assemble the kit are included (a screwdriver and a tiny wrench), but I found that an even smaller screwdriver is needed for fixing some tiny servo screws and to wire the power connector on the servo control board.

 
The Sunfounder Smart Video Car can read its own manual.

Manual

A booklet printed in rather small characters is included in the box. In it you will find the parts list, the assembly manual and some detailed descriptions of a few parts and where to start with your own software development.

Who is it for?

The kit is intended for people who want to experiment with a remote-controlled car with video capabilities. The car is neither fast nor beautiful; it is an RPi-based development tool to write software for to make it do things, let it execute tasks. Because it is RPi-based, it can run complex software written in high-level languages like Python. Although the provided software is in Python, the user is free to develop applications in any other language.
 
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