Arduino - Car

One of the most exciting projects for Arduino beginners is creating an Arduino robot car. In this tutorial, we will discover how to use Arduino to build a robot car and control it using an IR remote controller. We will also explore another tutorial where we will learn to transform it into a Bluetooth-controlled car.

Arduino IR remote control car

Hardware Required

1×Arduino UNO or Genuino UNO
1×USB 2.0 cable type A/B
1×RC Car
1×L298N Motor Driver Module
1×IR Remote Controller Kit
1×CR2025 Battery (for IR Remote controller)
1×1.5V AA Battery (for Arduino and Car)
1×Jumper Wires
1×(Recommended) Screw Terminal Block Shield for Arduino Uno
1×(Optional) Transparent Acrylic Enclosure For Arduino Uno

Or you can buy the following sensor kits:

1×DIYables Sensor Kit (30 sensors/displays)
1×DIYables Sensor Kit (18 sensors/displays)
Please note: These are Amazon affiliate links. If you buy the components through these links, We will get a commission at no extra cost to you. We appreciate it.

About Robot Car

In the Arduino context, the robot car is commonly referred to as the robot car, RC car, remote control car, smart car, or DIY car. It can be controlled remotely and wirelessly using either an IR remote controller or a smartphone app via Bluetooth/WiFi... The robot car can turn left or right and move forward or backward.

A 2WD (Two-Wheel Drive) car for Arduino is a small robotic vehicle that you can build and control using an Arduino board. It typically consists of the following components:

  • Chassis: The base or frame of the car,where all other components are mounted.
  • Wheels: The two wheels that provide locomotion to the car. They are attached to two DC motor.
  • Motors: Two DC motors are used to drive the two wheels.
  • Motor Driver: The motor driver board is an essential component that interfaces between the Arduino and the motors. It takes signals from the Arduino and provides the necessary power and control to the motors.
  • Arduino Board: The brain of the car. It reads inputs from sensors and user commands and controls the motors accordingly.
  • Power Source: The 2WD car requires a power source, usually batteries and a battery holder, to power the motors and the Arduino board.
  • Wireless receiver: an infrared, Bluetooth or WiFi module for wireless communication with a remote control or smartphone.
  • Optional Components: Depending on your project's complexity, you may add various optional components like sensors (e.g., ultrasonic sensors for obstacle avoidance, line-following sensors), and more.

In this tutorial, to make it simple, we will use:

  • 2WD Car kit (including Chassis, wheels, motors, battery holder)
  • L298N Motor Driver
  • IR infrared kit (including IR controller and IR receiver)

Check the hardware list at the top of this page.

How It Works

Arduino 2WD car how it work
  • Arduino connects to the DC motors of the robot car through L298N motor driver module.
  • Arduino connects to an IR receiver.
  • The battery powers Arduino, DC motors, motor driver, and IR receiver.
  • Users press the UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT/OK keys on the IR remote controller.
  • Arduino receives the UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT/OK commands through the IR receiver.
  • Arduino controls the car to move FORWARD/BACKWARD/LEFT/RIGHT/STOP by controlling the DC motor via the motor driver.

Wiring Diagram

Arduino 2WD car Wiring Diagram

This image is created using Fritzing. Click to enlarge image

Usually, we need two power sources:

  • One power source for the motor (indirectly via L298N module).
  • The other power source for the Arduino board, the L298N module, the IR receiver.

However, there's a way to use just one power source for everything. You can use four 1.5V batteries (totaling 6V) for this purpose. Here's how we can do it:

  • Connect the batteries to the L298N module by following the above diagram.
  • Remove two small connectors (jumpers) that link the ENA and ENB pins to 5 volts on the L298N module.
  • Put a special connector (jumper) labeled 5VEN, marked with a yellow circle on the above diagram.
  • Connect the 12V pin on the screw terminal of the L298N module to the Vin pin on the Arduino board. This powers the Arduino directly from battery (6V in total).

Please note that during the development period, when you need to connect the USB cable to the Arduino for programming, you MUST disconnect the power between the battery and the Arduino board by remove a wiring from Vin pin. The Arduino board should not be powered by two power sources simultaneously.

Arduino Code

/* * Created by * * This example code is in the public domain * * Tutorial page: */ #include <DIYables_IRcontroller.h> // DIYables_IRcontroller library #define IR_RECEIVER_PIN 9 // The Arduino pin connected to IR receiver #define ENA_PIN 7 // The Arduino pin connected to the ENA pin L298N #define IN1_PIN 6 // The Arduino pin connected to the IN1 pin L298N #define IN2_PIN 5 // The Arduino pin connected to the IN2 pin L298N #define IN3_PIN 4 // The Arduino pin connected to the IN3 pin L298N #define IN4_PIN 3 // The Arduino pin connected to the IN4 pin L298N #define ENB_PIN 2 // The Arduino pin connected to the ENB pin L298N DIYables_IRcontroller_17 irController(IR_RECEIVER_PIN, 200); // debounce time is 200ms void setup() { Serial.begin(9600); irController.begin(); pinMode(ENA_PIN, OUTPUT); pinMode(IN1_PIN, OUTPUT); pinMode(IN2_PIN, OUTPUT); pinMode(IN3_PIN, OUTPUT); pinMode(IN4_PIN, OUTPUT); pinMode(ENB_PIN, OUTPUT); digitalWrite(ENA_PIN, HIGH); // set full speed digitalWrite(ENB_PIN, HIGH); // set full speed } void loop() { Key17 key = irController.getKey(); if (key != Key17::NONE) { switch (key) { case Key17::KEY_UP: Serial.println("MOVING FORWARD"); CAR_moveForward(); break; case Key17::KEY_DOWN: Serial.println("MOVING BACKWARD"); CAR_moveBackward(); break; case Key17::KEY_LEFT: Serial.println("TURNING LEFT"); CAR_turnLeft(); break; case Key17::KEY_RIGHT: Serial.println("TURNING RIGHT"); CAR_turnRight(); break; case Key17::KEY_OK: Serial.println("STOP"); CAR_stop(); break; default: Serial.println("WARNING: unused key:"); break; } } } vvoid CAR_moveForward() { digitalWrite(IN1_PIN, HIGH); digitalWrite(IN2_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN3_PIN, HIGH); digitalWrite(IN4_PIN, LOW); } void CAR_moveBackward() { digitalWrite(IN1_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN2_PIN, HIGH); digitalWrite(IN3_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN4_PIN, HIGH); } void CAR_turnLeft() { digitalWrite(IN1_PIN, HIGH); digitalWrite(IN2_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN3_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN4_PIN, LOW); } void CAR_turnRight() { digitalWrite(IN1_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN2_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN3_PIN, HIGH); digitalWrite(IN4_PIN, LOW); } void CAR_stop() { digitalWrite(IN1_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN2_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN3_PIN, LOW); digitalWrite(IN4_PIN, LOW); }

Quick Steps

  • Install DIYables_IRcontroller library on Arduino IDE by following this instruction
  • Do the wiring as the diagram shown above.
  • Disconnect the wire from the Vin pin on the Arduino because we will power Arduino via USB cable when uploading code.
  • Flip the car upside down so that the wheels are on top.
  • Connect the Arduino to your computer using the USB cable.
  • Copy the provided code and open it in the Arduino IDE.
  • Click the Upload button in the Arduino IDE to transfer the code to the Arduino.
  • Use the IR remote controller to make the car go forward, backward, left, right, or stop.
  • Check if the wheels move correctly according to your commands.
  • If the wheels move the wrong way, swap the wires of the DC motor on the L298N module.
  • You can also see the results on the Serial Monitor in the Arduino IDE.
Autoscroll Show timestamp
Clear output
9600 baud  
  • If everything is working fine, disconnect the USB cable from the Arduino, and connect back the wire to Vin pin to power the Arduino from the battery.
  • Flip the car back to its normal position with the wheels on the ground.
  • Have fun controlling the car!

Code Explanation

Read the line-by-line explanation in comment lines of code!

You can learn more about the code by checking the following tutorials:

You can extend this project by:

  • Adding obstacle avoidance sensors to immidilately stop the car if an obstacle is detected.
  • Adding function to control the speed of car (see Arduino - DC motor tutorial). The provided code controls car with full speed.

Video Tutorial

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