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I’m building an AI powered robotic car which needs multiple Pi, one driving, one sensing, one learning etc. The individual boards need to talk to each other, most likely using MQTT, outside of a wireless network. So to put it simply how can I network the boards without a network? Is Bluetooth a possibility?

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The easiest way without overthinking it too much, would be to just set up one of the RasPis as an access point that the others connect to. Make your robotic car it's own WLAN.

If you prefer a wired connection, simple communication can work over a basic serial UART. If you have a lot of streamed data, SPI may be a possibility as well. Lastly, you can add a mini LAN switch and use wired ethernet.

If you want to use MQTT though, Bluetooth is out unless you want to use MQTT-SN (MQTT requires TCP).

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  • To use wifi wasn't asked as far as I understand the question. For the other suggestions +1. – Ingo Nov 2 '19 at 14:27
  • I interpreted "outside of a wireless network" as meaning there is no general WiFi access point available. I assumed that the OP may have not yet considered making an application specific private WLAN. – John S Nov 2 '19 at 18:12
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You can make a wifi connection between them by making one a hotspot and another a user. Or you can use a bluetooth too.

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  • Please read the question more carefully. The OP asked for a solution "outside of a wireless network." – Ingo Nov 2 '19 at 13:52
  • Generating its own Wi-fi network is perfectly acceptable. I just do not need to rely on a router external to the car, which could move out of range as the car moves. – Nick Nov 2 '19 at 16:43
  • @Nick Please note that multiple wifi will load the limited mobile power source (battery?) on the car a lot. I'm not sure if you are happy with it. – Ingo Nov 3 '19 at 8:39

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