Kshitij Tiwari Ph.D.

Raspberry Pi vs Arduino for robotics

5 min read

If you are interested in messing with a physical robot platform, you will likely need to delve into controllers to be able to control various components of a robot. While there are numerous controller boards, there are two that have gained prominence in the robotics community: 1.) Arduino and 2.) Raspberry Pi.

Deciding between Raspberry Pi and Arduino can be a tough dilemma for robotics enthusiasts and makers. Both of these devices are renowned in the world of embedded design and have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between the two and help you make the right choice.

What is Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, an educational charity whose primary goal is to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools. It is a credit card-sized computer board that is equipped with a 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor and 512 MB to 4 GB of RAM with a processing speed of up to 1.4 GHz. It runs on the Linux operating system and has extensive support from the open-source community.


What is Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source development kit for microcontroller-based applications. It is based on the 8-bit Atmel AVR processor which clocks a maximum of 16MHz and is programmed using the C language. It is widely used for various projects such as creating interactive objects, controlling home appliances, and robotics. Arduino also has an active open-source community and extensively documented tutorials for beginners.

What can Raspberry Pi do?

The primary benefit of using a Raspberry Pi is its flexibility and programmability. It provides a wealth of features, including its Linux-based system, connectivity options like Ethernet and wifi, and ease of use. It can be used to create complex projects using C/ C++ or Python, such as home automation systems, robotics, and self-driving cars.

The Raspberry Pi is also inexpensive and has readily available hardware components that are compatible with the platform. It can be used with a variety of operating systems, including Windows and Linux.

Given that it is a mini computer, robotics enthusiast can even run optimized Robot Operating System (ROS) on top of the Raspi OS. This allows easy integration of ROS with Raspberry Pi.

What can Arduino do?

The main benefit of using an Arduino device is its simplicity. It is incredibly easy to use and does not require a lot of code to create a working project. It also has a wide range of compatible hardware modules and components that can be used to create complex projects.

Another benefit of Arduino is its size and cost. Arduino boards are small and relatively inexpensive, making them ideal for projects that require a small form factor. This makes them particularly well-suited for robotics projects.

Raspberry Pi vs Arduino: Which is right for you?

When deciding which device is right for you, it’s important to consider the type of project you’re creating and your budget. If you’re looking to create a simple project—such as a home automation system—the Raspberry Pi may be the best choice. It’s more flexible and provides more features than the Arduino.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to create a robotics project or any other project that requires a smaller form factor, the Arduino may be a better option. It’s simpler to use and provides a wide range of compatible hardware components, making it a great choice for hobbyists and makers.

Another decision making aspect is the communication architecture. Sometimes you would need to directly communicate with the hardware (low level control) like motors in which can you could opt for an Arduino with limited on-board compute. If however, there is a need for heavier compute, for instance, applications requiring true multithreading, a Raspberry Pi would be ideal.

Key takeaways

In conclusion, picking the right device comes down to your project’s complexity and budget. The Raspberry Pi is a great choice for complex projects due to its flexibility and features. On the other hand, the Arduino is a great choice for simpler projects due to its size and cost.

No matter which device you choose, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to create a project that meets your needs. Good luck!

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