Mid-Senior Engineers: Reinvent your career with Robotics, earning $100k-$200k+ in the next 90 days. Learn More

How to Build a Mobile Robot Using Arduino | Part 1

Liz Miller Learn Robotics

About the Author, Liz Miller, Founder/CEO @ Learn Robotics

Liz graduated with a degree in Robotics Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and researched drones at UPenn's GRASP Lab. Liz is a former Raytheon Engineer, where she managed major $MM automation projects worldwide. Today, she's the driving force behind Learn Robotics, offering the Robotics Career Blueprint for Engineering Professionals and beginner courses through the Online Robotics Class. Liz is a third-generation entrepreneur who is all about the application of innovation in robotics, automation, and AI. Follow Liz on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, Learn Robotics will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Learn Robotics is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising revenues by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Join our Private Discord Server, MakeRobots! Sign Up

Welcome everyone to this week’s article on the Learn Robotics blog!

I’m going to be starting something completely new called the “Beginner Bots” tutorial series. In this series, I’m going to show you how to create an Arduino-based mobile robot start to finish. These weekly lessons are designed to walk you through the steps to creating a functional mobile robot, so if you’ve ever wanted to build a robot from scratch, then this tutorial series is for you!

We also have a dedicated Robotics eCourse that goes BEYOND these posts and gives you lessons in a digestible format. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be organized while learning, then the eCourse will be your best bet.

You’ll also gain access to additional robotics projects, quizzes, and a Course Certificate. Learn more about our Robotics eCourse here. Perfect way to showcase your skills on a Resume or College Application! Now, without further hesitation, let’s jump into Part 1!

How to Build a Mobile Robot using Arduino

Each week I will provide you with the objectives (goals of the lesson) and any materials you will need to complete the project.

I absolutely LOVE seeing what you guys are working on, so please don’t forget to tag me (@learnrobotics) on Instagram and Facebook with any progress you’ve made!

Part 1 – Goals & Objectives

  • Purchase materials to complete the Beginner Robotics Series
  • Review each component of the mobile robot (part identification & purpose)
  • Configure our computers with the correct software while our parts are on order.
  • Time Duration: Approximately 1 hour

Part 1 – Materials for this Lesson
robotics ecourse Learn Robotics

This tutorial series is based on the Elegoo Arduino Smart Robot Car kit. You can purchase the kit on Amazon for about $70. I recommend this kit because it provides a lot of value for the money and the components can be utilized in a number of robotic projects.

While you can follow along without purchasing the kit, it’s always more beneficial to be hands-on with a robot and try out the lessons for yourself. With that said, if you’re on a tight budget, I will be reviewing the components of the kit, below, so you can choose to purchase them separately.


Additional Materials

Earn a Completion Certificate!

How to Build a Mobile Robot Using Arduino


Join the Robotics eCourse and earn a Course Completion Certificate. It’s a great way to showcase your robotics projects and test your knowledge. Sign up here!


What is a Robot?

We’re building a mobile robot. But first, what’s a robot? A simple definition: a robot is an automated device that uses sensors and algorithms (software) to respond to and make decisions about its environment.

Think Software meets Mechanics meets Electronics.

How to Build a Mobile Robot Using Arduino

There are 3 main components of our mobile robot:

  1. Control System: how our robot processes information. In most cases, the brain is also called a microcontroller. We’re using the Arduino Uno R3.
  2. Drive Train: how our robot moves. It includes a four-wheel, 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system.
  3. Sensor System: how our robot detects its environment. We will be starting off with Infrared (IR) and Ultrasonic sensors in the upcoming lessons. You can see an IR sensor attached to my robot now.

I’ve created a more detailed map of each component of the Elegoo kit, below.

How to Build a Mobile Robot Using Arduino

The Parts of Our Robot

There are quite a few components necessary in order to build a mobile robot. As you can see from the list below, there are a lot of parts, which can be pricey when purchased separately. This is one of the reasons why I recommend picking up a kit.

However, as mentioned earlier, if you already have spare parts, or are on a budget, these are the things you will need to have in order to follow along with this series.

How to Build a Mobile Robot Using Arduino

Check out the parts we’re using below:

After you gather and/or order the parts you need, you can continue on with configuring your computer with the programming software.

Get the Software Configured

You have two options when it comes to programming. You can program offline in an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) or you can use the online IDE on the Arduino website.

  1. Download a copy of the Arduino IDE. This is a great option if you’re not always connected to the internet, or do not want to worry about having internet to work on your robot.
  2. Create an account on arduino.cc for access to the online Arduino IDE. An internet connection is required for this option.

If you’ve chosen to download the software, once it’s finished downloading, follow the on-screen prompts to complete installation.

Subscribe to YouTube

When you’re finished, launch the Arduino program and open a blank sketch. You’ll see a screen that looks like this:

How to Build a Mobile Robot Using Arduino

All of your code for the robot will live inside of a sketch or a program. We’ll go in more detail with sketches after we assemble our robot in subsequent articles. But for now, all you need to know is that there are two required Methods in order for the program to compile.

  1. setup(): configures your pins as Inputs or Outputs
  2. loop(): code in this method is executed and runs forever.
    Similar to the “main” method in classic C-programming.

In English: you need these two functions (setup and loop) or you’ll get an error. AKA, it won’t work. Therefore, you must include these, even if they’re empty.

In the next lesson, we’ll take a look at robot assembly, wiring, and sensors. Be sure to order your robot, and head over to How to Build a Robot – Part 2.

Go beyond this Article with our eCourse

Enroll in our eCourse and build additional mobile robot projects, gain access to our quizzes, 1:1 office hours, and a Course Certificate. Click here to sign up!

Experienced Engineer (Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, Software): If I offered to help you upgrade your engineering career to robotics, earning $100k-$200k+ in the next 90 days, would you take me up on that offer? Click here for details.
Liz Miller Learn Robotics

🚀 Pre-Launch: Become a "MakeR" with MakeRobots!

Hey Reader, 👋

Liz Miller, Founder/CEO, here with some Exciting News!

Learn Robotics just acquired MakeRobots™, an Online Robotics Community, and are prepping its Official Learn Robotics Debut in Late 2023.

MakeRobots™ is your one-stop-shop for learning, gaining coding, electronics, and robotics skills, connecting, and building robots for one low monthly membership!

Join MakeRobots™ at our Special Pre-launch Rate!
🤖 Access our Private Community & Robotics Courses
💬 Network, Collaborate, Connect with Other Makers
🔓 Only $5.99/month – locked in for life
⏱️ Pre-launch deal is Limited to the first 1,000 subscribers

This is a perfect opportunity for you to get into the fastest growing robotics community on the internet, at our ground-level, pre-launch membership rates.

👇 Click the button below to Claim your Pre-launch Membership and become a MakeR in the MakeRobots Community, today!

Learn Robotics Botly Favicon