When considering making an Arduino-controlled vehicle of some sort, a lot of money can be saved by modifying a commercially-available unit. And why not? You get a lot of hardware for the money, and an excuse for a trip to the toy store. Instructables user "absolute zero" has done just that by converting a cheap R/C car with an Arduino and various electronics to make it somewhat autonomous. With the use of infra-red LEDs the car has detect obstacles and change direction - and with some imagination much more intelligence could be added.
With some canny shopping you can recreate this without breaking the budget. You can avoid the use of a motor shield by tapping into the motor control circuit in the R/C car as well - so click here to get started. And for more, we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.
If you're new to Arduino, the first step is a solid board for your projects - our Freetronics Eleven - the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs: