For the senior design class Embedded Systems Design II at RIT, we decided to base our curriculum around the snickerdoodle System on Module [SOM] by krtkl. This truly amazing SOM contains the Zynq FPGA System on Chip [SOC], as well as other neat features such as integrated WiFi, rugged SD card holder, and plenty of expansion headers. The connectors-up snickerdoodle is pictured below. Note that one can purchase snickerdoodle with various connector configurations as well as with the 7010 or 7020 Zynq IC.

Even though the snickerdoodle SOM is great to work with, it’s always more fun when your hardware can move around. With motion in mind, our group at the Ravven lab decided to integrate the snickerdoodle onto a rover platform. We developed the below baseboard for the snickerdoodle to plug into that contains the following components as well as plenty of debug test points:

  • Ultrasonic sensors [3]
  • Camera modules [2]
  • IMUs [2]
  • Motor output stages [4]
  • JTAG debugging
  • Status LEDs [3]
  • 5V voltage regulator
  • Encoders [4]
  • Spektrum receiver interface

For the actual rover platform, we decided to use the Rover 5 which can be found here. We went with the version of the rover that has encoders, although there is also an encoderless version available. Documentation for the rover including physical dimensions can be found here.

After putting it all together, we arrived at the Ravven Rover pictured below! This rover has inertial measurement units [IMUs], encoders, cameras, and ultrasonic transducers which combine to make an amazing sensor suite for autonomous navigation. Another highlight of this system is that navigation algorithms can be developed in VHDL, Verilog, Java, C, Python, and any other language that can target an ARM processor.

Speaking about algorithms, a pre-compiled binary is available via the Ravven lab GitHub that contains these memory access points. One can simply pull down the system.bin file, flash the snickerdoodle, and execute the python unit tests.

Just to prove that we actually got things working, here is a video from the Imagine RIT Festival that was held this past summer. Imagine RIT is an all-ages, all-day festival that features various senior projects such as this project as well as other student-run clubs such as the Electric Vehicle Team [EVT] and Baja.

If you are interested in being involved with this project and helping to push it forward, please email me at We would be happy to discuss potential development and collaboration opportunities.