Actually Training Basil Faulty the DonkeyCar


I could finally set up the training environment using Ubuntu in VirtualBox on Windows to allow Basil to learn to race around the track in my kitchen!

Working with Virtual Environments

I went to the hackerspace this week and everybody jumped on board with helping me get Basil trained. I’d made a few mistakes in setting up the training environment - the ohmc instructions outlined how to set up the virtual environment but I didn’t know I needed to re-activate it each time I wanted to train.

Here are the steps I needed to use to use it properly:

virtualenv -p python3 ~/virtualenvs/donkeycar
source ~/virtualenvs/donkeycar/bin/activate

To make sure I’m using the virtual environment, the console changes to (donkeycar) $

I re-installed tensorflow in this environment, but didn’t use the cached version, in case I’d messed it up or it was otherwise corrupted. I also re-installed donkeycar and run the training inside the virtual environment.

pip install --no-cache tensorflow==1.13.1
git clone donkey_two
cd donkey_two/
pip install -e .
cd  ohmc_car/
python train --tub tub/ --model models/test.hdf5

And finally the training began! The training process goes through a number of epochs - it stops automatically when the training does not result in a better model, for me this was after 27 epochs.

I then copied the finished model to the pi:

scp test.hdf5 pi@basilfaulty.local:play/ohmc_car/models

From the ssh interface on Basil I could then run the model using a similar command to the training:

ssh pi@basilfaulty.local
cd play/ohmc_car
python drive --model ./models/test.hdf5

I then accessed the web interface at https://basilfaulty.local/8887 and instead of driving in ‘manual’ mode, I could select the automated driving options - I used ‘Local Angle’ so I could control the speed manually while the model controlled the steering.

And here he is after the first training! He can’t do the full track; I think this is a ‘garbage in-garbage out’ scenario where my potato training didn’t do Basil any favours but boy was it exciting to see him try to steer!

Here’s the first video, yep, he went straight into the chair!

Here he could do a corner and the straight but ran off the track instead of trying this corner!

Yes… I stopped the video to stop him hitting the wall!

And here he didn’t even attempt to go around this corner.

It’s safe to say that I think I need to try training again…

About Me

Engineer, maker, do-er...
I basically just like to make things.