A Brand New Year
For the second year in a row Formula Student Team Delft has two divisions: Electric and Driverless, each working on their own separate car. The Electric division is building a brand new and improved electric race car (the DUT20). We from Driverless are doing something slightly different.
The Driverless Division is collaborating with a team from MIT to create a completely autonomous electric race car. We are refitting and refining the DUT18 car with the necessary sensors and actuators to make it drive laps without anyone sitting behind the wheel.
To get a good impression of what an autonomous race car looks like, watch the video from AMZ's Driverless team from last year.
The Driverless Competition
The Driverless competition, like the electrical and combustion Formula Student competitions, is divided into so called "dynamic" and "static" events. The dynamic events are about the car's performance, the static ones are more about the thought that went into the car's design.
The dynamic events consist of three drives:
Acceleration: Drive 75m in a straight line as fast as possible
Skidpad: Race through a small eight-figure track as measure of the lateral capabilities of the race car
Trackdrive & Efficiency: Drive at least 10 laps on a track autonomously. Points are awarded for speed and efficiency
There are four static events, each of which is scored by a set of judges from commercial environments:
Engineering Design: Tests the team on their engineering and autonomous design.
Business Plan: A business proposal for bringing their vehicle into market is defended
Cost Event: The financial side of the vehicle is evaluated.
The track is set out with cones of different colours indicating straights, inner- and outer corners. This is the starting point for the fast set of sensors and algorithms that need to translate this 3D workspace into a feasible trajectory for the car to follow. To follow this path a reliable model of the vehicle is essential. These models need to be heavily reliable in different conditions such as extreme temperatures, rain and different track conditions.