Frequently Asked Questions

What is is AVP_HS?

AVP_HS a student run initiative that provides a complete everything needed to allow high school and university students to quickly build their own autonomous car. The hardware consists of a modified scale model car and software so the car will drive autonomously right out of the box.

What can I do with the car?

Get it running. Then add your own code to make it run better, then compete against other students to see how yours stacks up.

That sounds cool, but we don't know anything about autonomous vehicles. How do we get started?

Easy. Get a car. It comes with all the hardware and software you need. You can assemble the car and have it driving autonomously in an afternoon. Then go to the AVP_HS website which has the complete source code so you can see how it works and begin adding your own enhancements.

What if we can't get it to work?

Never fear, we are here. There is a forum where you can post questions and tell us about problems, an email address for direct access to our team of highly motivated student staff who are standing by late into the evening to help you so they can avoid doing their English homework. We even have phone support for really sticky problems and it's all free because none of us are being paid.

It sounds wonderful.

That's not a question, but we agree, assuming your idea of wonderful is spending countless hours coming up with stuff like new and better ways to detect the edge of a road from a video stream or how to use that to drive smoothly and quickly through curves without hitting anything. FRC nerds, we're talking to you.

I'm interested, but doesn't this cost a lot of money?

No, or at least not as much as you might think. We are currently shipping revision 1 hardware which is based on a feature-rich chassis that is frankly, overkill. If you want to get started right away the entire package runs about $1,000 USD. You can learn about the car and purchase one {{HERE}}. However, we are developing a lower-cost platform which should be ready next year and is expected to cost around $250 USD. A third option is to build your own. The code is written in Java so it's portable.

We can't afford $250 USD let alone $1,000 USD. Is there any way for us to get a car?

Yes. Apply for a grant. Schools are eligible for grants up to 100% of the entire cost. Click this {{LINK}} to go to the appropriate page.

What if we're not a high school? Can we still get a car?

Yes. Both undergraduate and graduate university programs are welcome, but at this time they aren't eligible for grants.

What about individuals? Can we play too?

We are an educational initiative. If you would like to buy or build a car and use our software that's great.

What if I write some really cool code? Can I add it to the code base?

Of course. Well, actually, we haven't quite worked out how we'll manage that yet, but we are working on it and expect to roll out the the program early next year. Which reminds me, if any of you are experienced in how to manage open-source projects click here, but be warned, we'll pester you until you agree to teach us what you know.

So all the code is open-sourced?

Yes. The code is free for anyone to use for non-commercial purposes. You can read our licensing agreement {{HERE}}.

Who are you all anyway?

AVP_HS is a student run initiative that works in collaborations with the computer science department at Portland State University. We provide tools that enable students to build systems that they wouldn't normally not encounter until college or even graduate school.

Are you really all high school students?

Yes. Remember that when the bug you reported months ago still hasn't been fixed.

This sounds great. Is there a way I can help?

Can you help? Can you help? We're a bunch of students writing the code for an autonomous car. Of course you can help. We are in need of people who are skilled in many different things. If you would like to be part of the team, check out the available positions by clicking here and tell us about yourself.

Unfortunately, I'm not a programmer or a computer scientist. Is there a way I can help?

Yes. If your local high school offers a class in programming tell the teacher about our program. We are actively looking for schools who would jump at the opportunity to host an autonomous vehicle class, team, or club.

You must have expenses. Can I make a donation?

Yes. Our only paid staff are the two instructors who teach the workshop held at PSU every summer from mid-July to mid-August. We will gladly accept your tax-deductible donation towards their inadequate stipends: after all, they work with high-school students for several weeks on end.

Wait, you have a summer program? Can I come?

Students with an strong interest in computer science are invited to apply to attend our summer workshops. Most students enter the three year program via NWAPW where first year students work in teams of three writing a program of their own choosing and then return the following two summers to work on the autonomous car. You can learn more about NWAPW here. A few very advanced students go directly to working on the autonomous car project. You can learn more about applying to AVP_HS by clicking here.

How much does it cost to attend the summer workshops?

There is no cost to attend the workshops. They are entirely funded via grants and donations.

I can't attend a workshop. Can I still contribute to the project?

Yes. Click here and tell us what you would like to work on.

I'm a high school teacher and would like to host a workshop in my community. Is that possible?

Absolutely. We strongly encourage communities to host their own workshops. We'll provide you the materials, help you get started, even train you. Click here to learn more.

I have a question that isn't listed. How do I ask it?

Click here.