Valerie Varnuska is a Westbury, NY, resident with a diverse range of interests. She enjoys learning about the oddities of nature as well as the scientific accomplishments of man. Valerie Varnuska maintains an interest in the developments in the world of robotics.
“Duckietown” is the newest and cutest robotics project to come out of MIT. Released in mid-April 2016, it features a fleet of 50 “duckiebots,” or self-driving miniature cars topped with a toy rubber duck for a “driver.” These cars cruise around the model town driven by algorithms instead of people.
Duckiebots use an on-board camera to navigate their model city. They do not have pre-programmed routes, magnetic paths, or internal maps. Instead, the robotic cars use cameras to identify roads and algorithms to create paths. The little robots identify and follow street signs, and even know to stop or swerve when a “pedestrian” duck gets in the way.
As fun as the concept may be, MIT has serious plans for the technology behind Duckietown. The creators intend to share their open source software, allowing the algorithms to support and inspire future generations of roboticists.