Developing on NVIDIA® Jetson™ for AI on the Edge

Jetson RACECAR Build – Software Install 2

In part one of the RACECAR software install, we set the stage. In this article, we install the RACECAR packages. Looky here:


One of the packages that is installed is for Ackerman Steering. This is the type of steering geometry that is used in most automobiles. Angled steering arms allow the wheel angles to change at a different rate. In the old horse buggy days, parallel steering arms were used on which when the wheels turned, both turned at the same angle. As you know, the wheel closest to a turn follows a smaller radius circle than the outside wheel. In other words, the outside wheel travels further than the inner wheel, so it is intuitive that the angle of the outer wheel should be different than the inner one. Angled steering arms provide a mechanical solution to the problem. The R/C car used in the Jetson RACECAR has this type of steering mechanism connected to the steering servo.


This is a straightforward installation which installs the ROS racecar package, along with packages for nodes controlling the VESC (Vedder Electronic Speed Controller) and an Ackerman Steering node. There is also a Stereolabs ZED camera package installed, and support for some other sensors.

All of these packages come straight from the MIT RACECAR repository. The install script is in the JetsonHacks account on Github.

$ git clone
$ cd installRACECAR
$ ./


Most of the needed software is now installed on the Jetson RACECAR. The one remaining issue before we can get the vehicle rolling is the VESC, which needs firmware installation and configuration. This is done using a software tool called ‘bldc-tool’, and is the subject of the next article. Stay tuned!

Setting up the VESC


16 Responses

  1. Hi Jim

    I noticed that you have the LIDAR sweep, I do too 🙂 really good, however I would like to know if you have the same issue as me.

    I had install the sweep node and alos the point to cloud laser scan node (ros-kinetic-pointcloud-to-laserscan) but I can’t see any data comming our from the sensor via rostopic echo, not even when running the visualization with rviz nodes.

    have you experimented this issue?

    I have a TX1 BTW 🙂

    thanks for any guidance

  2. Hi.
    I just get below commend during ./ , what should I do?

    Catkin Make
    ./ line 39: catkin_make: command not found
    ./ line 40: catkin_make: command not found


  3. I just get below log, when I installed ROS.
    ubuntu@tegra-ubuntu:~/installROSTX1$ ./ jetsonbot
    ./ line 5: /opt/ros/kinetic/setup.bash: No such file or directory
    Creating Catkin Workspace: /home/ubuntu/jetsonbot
    ./ line 20: catkin_init_workspace: command not found
    ./ line 22: catkin_make: command not found

  4. [ 52%] Built target vesc_ackermann_nodelet
    Makefile:138: recipe for target ‘all’ failed
    make: *** [all] Error 2
    Invoking “make -j4 -l4” failed

    Any ideas?

  5. hi
    would it be possible to get a package that just contains vesc and Logitech f710. the need for this is to just make the motor run. although i am getting a Slamtec RPLIDAR A3 in a week and i am looking for a ZED camera, the ./ installs everything. again its just to see the motor spin with the Logitech f710

    thank you in advance

  6. does the vesc package require lidar to function? meaning if i remove the zed camera and lidar from the workspace and do catkin make, will i be able to use the logitech gamepad to control the vesc?

    1. Under ROS each device is typically defined by a node. Each node has it’s own set of dependencies. However, the VESC is pretty much a stand alone package, as is the Logitech game controller. The ROS tele-op package uses input from the game controller and sends commands to the VESC node. The ZED camera and the lidar are not used in the tele-op package.

      1. i get errors of failure to launch razor imu along with cannot open network Hokuyo when i use “roslaunch racecar teleop.launch”.

        1. jstest works, the vesc and motor does work when connected to my pc using the windows tool.

          using rostopic echo i do see activity on /vesc/joy but no activity on /vesc/commands/motor/speed or /vesc/low_level/ackermann_cmd_mux/input/teleop, /vesc/commands/servo/position displays .5304

          i have been pressing the deadman button but no movement on the motors.

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