Zurich Team Uses Advanced Technology to Win the First Formula Student Driverless Race
【Summary】Cutting-edge technology helped the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich win the first annual Formula Student Competition for driverless cars.
Do you remember the projects you made in college? They certainly weren't as cool as the self-driving car, built by engineering students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
The first annual Formula Student Competition for driverless cars was recently held in Hockenheimring, Germany. Over a dozen teams competed, but it was the students from Zurich that had the technology needed to win.
Flüela, the team's car, is named after a Swiss mountain pass. The vehicle has seen competition before, when it entered the 2015 Formula Student Electric race.
According to IEEE Spectrum, Flüela is equipped with both lidar and optical sensors, as well as several other ways of measuring its ground Velocity. For navigation, the autonomous hot rod can either follow a pre-loaded map or build a map of its own after a few laps.
Challenges faced on the track
To build its own map, the car uses lidar to identify obstacles such as traffic cones. Unfortunately, lidar doesn't recognize colors, which is how the cones on the left and right sides of the track were distinguished.
The manual-map making still wasn't working as well as the team had hoped, so they activated a "discovery mode." Discovery mode involved an optical camera system capable of detecting cone colors. This allowed the car to map cones itself while driving. The team says the algorithm was sourced from an unrelated drone.
Just as important, was helping the car find its position relative to the map it was building. To accomplish this, the vehicle had to be able to accurately measure speed. The team addressed this issue with wheel-speed sensors, along with an inertial measurement unit. This setup allowed vehicle speed data to be sent to the lidar, helping the vehicle to stay on track.
Speed didn't win the race
Wheel speed sensors are not the fastest measurement devices. This meant that Zurich team wasn't the swiftest on the track. They still won though, since they were the only team to complete all the laps. The second-place team froze twice after it detected cones that weren't there.
Building an autonomous race car requires a lot of trial and error. Many of the teams will return next year with new knowledge gathered during the race.
The whole thing makes you wish you were still in college, doesn't it?
Mia is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician, L1, L2 and L3 Advanced Level Specialist. She has over 12 years of experience in the automotive industry and a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology. These skills have been applied toward content writing, technical writing, inspections, consulting, automotive software engineering.
Tesla Model S Wagon Displayed in Geneva
Audi Reveals its Q4 e-tron Concept at the Geneva Motor Show
Goodyear Showcases Concept Tire for Flying Cars; 1950's Autonomous Vehicle
Kia to Premier Euro-spec Electric e-Soul at the Geneva Motor Show
Ford Developing Electric Mustang Crossover That CEO Says Will “Go Like Hell”
BMW to Premiere New Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles & Free EV Charging in Geneva
Honda Says EVs, Not Brexit, to Blame for Honda Plant Shutdown
EVgo Charging Network Powers 88% More EVs Than Last Year
- Uber Expands Ride Pass to 20 More U.S. Cities
- Tesla to Buy Battery Maker Maxwell Technologies in a $218 Million All-Stock Deal
- Volkswagen AG Creates a New Division to Focus on Vehicle Software & Services
- Report Claims Uber’s Autonomous Car Program Was Going Through $20 Million per Month
- Tesla Gigafactory 3 Construction in Shanghai is 'Ludicrously Fast'
- Tesla Unveils V3 Superchargers That Can Add 75 Miles of Range in 5 Minutes
- Tesla Stock Falls After Vehicle Deliveries Drop 31% in Q1
- China’s Electric Car Bubble on the Verge of Popping
- Daimler Acquires Stake in Sila Technologies to Develop Next-Gen EV Batteries
- Tesla Reports Q1 Loss of $702 Million, CEO Elon Musk Says the Company Will Return to Profit in Q3