How to use a Raspberry Pi Pico W to Control a Robot over Wi-Fi

A Raspberry Pi Pico W uses a web interface via Wi-Fi to control a Pololu Zumo robot chassis. Christopher Barnatt (aka Explaining Computers) has put up a tutorial to show you how it's done.

That is the best feature of our Raspberry Pi Pico W microcontroller: it has a fully certified module on board with 2.4GHz 802.11n wireless LAN, making it the perfect solution for projects requiring a wireless connection, like this one.

What You'll Need to Control a Robot Over Wi-Fi

To control a robot over Wi-Fi with Raspberry Pi Pico W, you will need the following:

How to control a robot over Wi-Fi with Raspberry Pi Pico W

How to build the robot chassis

A second, dedicated video walking through the assembly of the robot chassis was created by Christopher. Python code connects the motor controller to the Raspberry Pi, and it all works together. He started again with a Raspberry Pi Pico W inside the chassis for the most recent Wi-Fi-controlled version and stripped off the Raspberry Pi.

Under the chassis, there is a built-in place for four AA batteries to power the robot. The robot moves thanks to micro metal gear motors.

Making it wireless

To build a web interface for his Raspberry Pi Pico W weather station project, Christopher had previously written some Python code. Additionally, portions of this Getting Started guide were lifted by him.

Screenshot of the web interface used to control the robot

The code specifies five functions to move the robot: forward, backward, stop, left, and right. Those orders are represented by clickable buttons on the web interface (seen above), so when the driver clicks “Forward” the robot moves forward, and so on.

Build your own robot

You just need the following code: the 3D-printed bracket design is available for download from Thingiverse.

Because they are so beginner-friendly, we love Explaining Computers' tutorials. You can't go wrong with Christopher's reassuring pace if you've always wanted to write something a little finer but were worried it would be too tough. Take the plunge. And please report back in the comments!

Raspberry Pi Pico W robot Video, using a Pololu Zumo chassis and L298N, with the robot controlled over WiFi from a local web page.

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