Autonomous Intersection

Design an autonomous car that can safely cross an intersection.

120+ min.
Grades 6-8


Design Brief
The ability to safely cross intersections is a definite challenge for autonomous car builders. Safety on the road is critical and cars need to be aware of danger at all times. They need to detect other cars and traffic lights, and monitor their speed while driving and turning.

Your challenge is to design a autonomous driving vehicle that can safely cross an intersection. Your solution must be able to:

  • Drive to an intersection, properly signal, and turn right
  • Repeat the above sequence turning left
  • Detect traffic lights and react accordingly to their signals
  • Detect other cars and react accordingly

Design your own classroom setup for this challenge. The setup must provide situational context for the problem the students are trying to solve.
Here is a suggested setup, where A is traffic light position and B is the stop line:


Have your students look at the design brief and generate multiple possible solutions to the problem.
What features do they intend to include in their build, and in the programming?
Will they need to change the physical design of their robot?
Have them write down all of their thoughts and sketches.

Select the Best Solution
Encourage the students to weigh the pros and cons of each idea they have come up with. They should then decide on a final design to carry forward.


Build and Program a Solution
Have the students build and program a robot that can solve the problem.


Test and Analyze
Have the students test and evaluate the efficiency of their solution.

Review and Revise
Have the students improve their solution until it meets the design criteria.

Encourage the students to share their learning process. Provide them with the opportunity to share their thinking, ideas, and reflections using the documentation tool(s) they have available.


Using Text-Based Programming
Have the students explore text-based programming solutions so they can compare different programming languages.

Teacher Support

Students will:
Design, use, and evaluate solutions to a real-world problems and physical systems

MS-ETS1-1. / MS-ETS1-2. / MS-ETS1-3. /MS-ETS1-4.

2-A-2-1 / 2-A-7-2 / 2-A-7-3 / 2-A-7-4 / 2-A-5-5 / 2-A-5-6 / 2-A-5-7 / 2-A-4-8 / 2-A-3-9 / 2-A-6-10 / 2-C-7-11 / 2-C-4-12 / 2-D-5-16 / 2-I-1-20