Edinburgh students win driverless race car competition
A team of Edinburgh students has won the UK’s first driverless race car competition.
A team of Edinburgh students won the UK’s first driverless race car competition. The team secured first place in a contest to develop software to guide a self-driving car around a racetrack.
World’s largest educational engineering competition
Formula Student is the world’s largest educational engineering competition. It challenges university teams from across the globe to design, build and race a single-seat race car. The vehicles are then judged on both their design and racing performance. This year, the UK competition, comprising of over 3000 students, was held at Silverstone in July and for the first time, challenged students to develop the AI for a fully-autonomous race car.
The Edinburgh University Formula Student (EUFS) team took the victory in the Dynamic Driving Task class after implementing their driverless software package on a car provided by the competition organisers - The Institute of Mechanical Engineers. The student-led team developed the AI of the car during the past two semesters in between their regular studies and let the car drive itself for the first time during the competition.
The most challenging part of their task was the restrictions that the car has no previous data of the race circuit. To aid detection and mapping, the course comprised of coloured cones. To detect them, cutting-edge equipment was used. One of which was a Lidar, which is capable of creating a 360° view of its surroundings using IR lasers. From its output, the car detected the cone locations which were then used to both create a map and guide the car around the track. To control the vehicle, the team utilised a machine learning algorithm which learnt the dynamics of the car. This then coupled with the map, enabled the car to follow the best trajectory around the course.
Autonomous cars are not the only aim of the society. Established in 2014 by a group of undergraduate students, EUFS' primary goal is to design and build a single-seat racing car. The team now ranks over 50 members from various disciplines and at different points in their studies. Thus far, they have produced 3 race cars, the latest of which, SISU 3, has placed them amongst the top 20 UK teams, an improvement of 16 places in comparison to last year. Now the team has also started researching into electrical vehicles.
There are no limitations on who can join the team as long as they are motivated and ambitious. Next round of applications for the team will go live in September. There is something for everyone, with interests ranging from developing the AI, designing the car or business and marketing. Interested applicants are encouraged to follow EUFS on social media
Formula Student has truly been an amazing journey for me. It has allowed me to apply the ideas I've learned in the classroom on a real-world project and gain experience in hands-on system design and teamwork. Seeing the car move by itself for the first time was thrilling and made all the hard work worth it. Now I am all the more excited to see how far we can go next year! I would also like to thank the University and all of our sponsors for the support.
Sponsors and Supporters
Numerous companies and institutions support EUFS, to name a few: Artemis Intelligent Power, Mapix Technologies, Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, Innovation Initiative Grants, Dassault Systemes, Solvay, Fibreglass Works, Scottish Association for Metals, Tygavac, Johnson Brewing Design, Tube Bender, R-Tech, ARRCraib and Automotion components.