EE192: Mechatronics Design Lab, Spring 2021

draft to be updated for remote


Syllabus: (pdf)
(grade breakdown structure is in the document)

Tue 5 pm - 630 pm
There are no lectures on Thursdays, except for special topics (to be arranged).

Discussion / lab lectures:
W10-11 or Wed 11-12
(see Piazza for Lecture and Discussion zoom links.)

Fri tbd

The scheduling information here supersedes the information on the schedule site.


Professor: Ron Fearing
Email: ronf AT eecs
Office Hours:
Wed 3-4 pm,
Thu 2-3 pm,

Teaching Assistant:
Andrew Barkan
Email: andrew_barkan AT
Office Hours:
Mon 2-3
Tues 2-3


Link to EE192 Spring 2021 /Piazza

/ is a better way to get your questions answered than email!


  • [19 Jan] First day of lecture is Tuesday, 19 Jan. (by Zoom, see Piazza for lecture link).
    Discussion sections will be held Wednesday, 20 Jan at the scheduled times. A poll will determine if these times should change for future sections.

Course Outline

The Mechatronics Design Lab is a design project course focusing on application of theoretical principles in electrical engineering and computer science to control of mechatronic systems incorporating sensors, actuators, and intelligence. This course gives you a chance to use your knowledge of (or learn about) power electronics, filtering and signal processing, control, electromechanics, microcontrollers, and real-time embedded software in designing a racing robot.

The class project is to design a racing robot which can follow a curving and self-crossing racetrack at speeds greater than 3 meters per second using a line camera. Each team starts with a standard 1/16th-scale RC car platform and a pre-built CPU board, determines an optimal strategy, and designs signal processing electronics and control algorithms. Depending on space availability (indoors, park, parking lot, cars will individually follow a 100 meter course, staying on track and avoiding obstacles.
(For Spring 2021 remote semester, we will be using prebuilt hardware, as remote or solo debugging is really hard.)

The course project requires students to consider real-world constraints such as limited volume, payload, electrical power, processing power, and time. Oral and written reports will be required justifying design choices. Grading will be based upon design checkpoints, the reports and a final exam. A portion of the grade will be determined by vehicle performance and robustness.

Each robot race car will be individually timed as it follows a line laid out on a path in available space. The path should have curves and self-crossings. Every team is using the same motor and batteries, so competitive advantage comes from using smarter algorithms that are better at keeping the car on the race track. A time penalty is used for vehicles that stray too far from the line and knock over traffic cones, so simply using maximum acceleration will not be a good strategy.


CS61BCS61C, EE16ABEE40, EECS120 or equivalent (2 out of 3 is okay if teamed up with other students who have those classes).

Course Materials

There is no required text for this course. Students may benefit from the following recommended texts, which are on reserve in the Engineering Library.

  • D.M. Auslander. Mechatronics: Mechanical System Interfacing

  • R.D. Klafter. Robotic Engineering: An Integrated Approach

  • Horowitz and Hill. The Art of Electronics

  • Stadler, Wolfram. Analytical robotics and mechatronics

  • Shetty, Devdas. Mechatronics system design.

  • Charles Platt, Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Vol.1

Instead of money on a textbook, you might like to buy accessory parts such as compass, gyro, JTAG debugger, etc.


Interested in how the site and course materials were built? We're open-source on GitHub here!