Since Tuesday, Michael and I have been testing the self-driving golf cart on the road. It has been a very very exciting process.


This was the first real-world test with the brand new steering control system. Just like any “first test”, the cart didn’t work. Thanks to our robotics teacher Ms. Hayes-Golding, we were able to shortly collect some testing result for debugging. We suspected that commands sent from the Jetson are not in sync with the commands executed on the motor controller.



The second day of testing, it went a little bit better, not because the cart worked, but because we had fruitful and useful results. After testing, we realized the problem of keeping a time limit for the steering motor. In another word, we had a limit that forbade the motor to turn more than 1 second, for the fear that long time turning will cause delays. However, removing this time constraint didn’t cause significant problems.

We also programmed a turning limit for the steering system, which basically stops the motor if it turns beyond the range of the steering system. Quite useful.



The most successful day yet. The cart successfully made three turns! However, the steering kept on skidding, therefore the vehicle wasn’t performing to its fullest. I addressed this engineering problem, hopefully, it will be better tomorrow.

I also implemented a cable management system. The passenger no longer needs to step on cables and wires when testing. The whole system looks much cleaner now.

The Future:

After some hardware changes on Thursday, we are hopeful that Friday will be successful. Just like any engineering problems, this will take longer than any of our expectations. But I am very glad that we are moving forward, in the right direction.

Thanks again to Ms. Richardson, Ms. Hayes-Golding and Mr. Nilsson for your help during testing and beyond. If you have any questions, comments. or concerns, please let me know below, or send me an email at


Posted by:NeilNie

Student at Columbia University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prev. software engineer intern at Apple. More than six years of experience developing iOS and macOS applications. Experienced in electrical engineering/microcontrollers. From publishing several apps to presented a TEDx talk in machine learning. Striving to use my knowledge, skills, and passion to positively impact the world.

One thought on “On the Road — Testing the Autonomous Golf Cart

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.