At the 2019 International Solid-State Circuits Conference, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology demonstrated robotic cars operated by application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). This new chip combines recently developed low-power motors and sensors, allowing it to run on mere milliwatts of power.
The robots can autonomously navigate through an unfamiliar course and share information with each other to move efficiently. The sensors on the robots send information to the ASIC chip, which acts as the brain. Then, instructions are sent to a Raspberry Pi controller and relayed to the motors.
Thanks to the newly integrated chip, the overall power consumption has been drastically reduced, with only the motor remaining as a significant power consuming component. Currently, the researchers are working with collaborators on new motors using micro-electromechanical technology, which would allow for significantly lower power consumption. Through this research, the researchers wish to build palm-sized robots with “runtimes of several hours on a couple of AA batteries”.