Comparable to our own nervous system the electronics can be found throughout the car. Central to the electronics is the self developed ECU, which runs all safety systems and the control systems of the car. The electronics department is responsible for the development of all pcb’s in the car and that wishes of various other departments are met. This includes a multitude of sensors throughout the car as well as housing state of the art speed measurement devices and making sure these can communicate with our own software. Besides electronics they are also responsible for all software development required to make the car run safely and without any issues.
ELECTRONICS CIRCUIT DESIGN
Connected directly to the drivetrain are the motors of the powertrain. The powertrain transforms the car from just a rolling chassis to a full blown formula student race car. The 4 electric motors are 1 of 3 assemblies covered by his department, the other 2 being the motor controller and accumulator. The accumulator stores the energy the car needs to complete the 22 km’s of endurance at the competition, and is one of the most complex, and strictly governed (by the rules) assemblies of the car. The motor controllers transform the dc current from the accumulator to the ac current required by the motors. They also contain a large variety of control systems to make the drive closer to its limits.
Our car is fully electric, but having just a battery and a set of electric motors doesn’t get you far when it comes to driving. The electrical power provided by the battery needs to be converted to mechanical power to allow any accelerating to happen. This is the task of the drivetrain department, headed by the chief drivetrain. The drivetrain subsystem consists of the upright, the motor, the transmission as well as the braking system, all packaged inside the wheel. All in all the drivetrain is one of the most striking assemblies on our car. Combined with our 14.5” tyres it is a system unique to our team.
Where the vehicle dynamics aim to have the best theoretical vehicle performance, it is the job of the suspension department to realize it on the car. Being the connecting element between drivetrain, part of the powertrain and chassis, the job of suspension involves talking to numerous other people to satisfy all the requirements. Apart from the actual suspension assembly, they also develop a large part of the human-machine interface design and its autonomous counterpart. This is on the one hand in the form of both the steering system and pedal box design, both vital to allow our drivers to extract the maximum performance out of the car, but also simultaneously extending these capabilities towards a self-actuated version of it.
Having all the necessary mechanical components, pcb’s and carbon fibre parts will make you a car, but it doesn’t mean that your car will be fast. That’s where the vehicle dynamics department led by the chief vehicle dynamics comes in. The chief vehicle dynamics is responsible for the theoretical vehicle performance. In practice this means that the car should be driveable for our students drivers and have as much grip as possible. Relying heavily on matlab simulations and kinematic calculations throughout the design phase the chief vehicle dynamics should always be one step ahead to get the right numbers to the right people to allow them to design. Besides vehicle performance he is also responsible for 1 part, the unique self-developed tyres of the car.
Being able to harness the power of directing air in a certain direction has always been a bit of a mystery. Trying to bring sense and science to this mystery is the task of the chief aerodynamics. He is responsible for the design of the entire aerodynamics package, including both producing actual downforce as well as making sure the wings can be attached to the car. Aerodynamic design is done using cfd trying to extract maximum downforce at any speed. Unrelated to downforce, but still very much connected to aerodynamics is the cooling of the car which is an integral part of the aerodynamic package.
To keep weight to a minimum, but still have the required strength we try to use carbon fibre on as many places as possible in the car. Most obvious is the 1-piece monocoque we design and produce by ourself each year. It is the task of the chassis department to make sure that the structural design is both rules compliant and able to cope with all the forces it encounters during driver. Furthermore it also needs to house the driver and give him or her ample room to, again, extract maximum performance out of the car. It doesn’t stop at the chassis as they are also heavily involved in the structural design and production of the wings, rims, steering wheel, accumulator casing, motorcontroller casing, etc.
COMPOSITE STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
CARBON FIBRE PRODUCTION
Developing a full scale autonomous system end to end within one year is not an easy task. Integration time and overhead can sometimes eat up valuable development and testing time. This is why we brought the infrastructure department to life. Automated simulations, rapid development techniques and continuous integration accelerate our rate of progression immensely. Tailored solutions to our workflow can not be found in open source, hence creativity and new ideas are required to improve this even further. Engage in getting the most out of our time by identifying weak links, improve and perfect our processes.
Converting a map and the vehicle state in a virtual space to an optimal path on the track and subsequently to spinning wheels is the task of the Pathplanning/Controls department. A large variety of interdisciplinary issues can be encountered and creative solutions be found here. Connecting the landmarks (or cones) in the map to create an intelligible track layout is an essential step to constrain the search space. A model of the car can help predict its behavior within a given time horizon under different loads. Fast and smart controller designs for steering, breaking and torque distribution finally helps to translate the wanted behavior to the actual track as accurate as possible.
A widely studied research topic within the robotics community, state estimation puts the pieces together. State filtering and sensor fusion methods are used to build a coherent map from sensor readings, while simultaneously localize the vehicle on it. The subsystem should be robust against sensor failures, such as outliers, noise or loss, while being able to keep up with the high update rates of internal encoders and measurement units. As the most system critical part in the pipeline you make sure that the vehicle is always aware and most up to date of its surroundings and state.
The senses of any driverless Formula Student race car are key components to a winning strategy. We use smart sensors such as camera arrays and LiDARs to register our surroundings. Complex algorithms help to detect and infer from the environment, while minimizing the latency to go quicker much safer. Trade-offs between accuracy, computational cost, hardware and position of the sensors have to made. As the autonomous department with the most interfaces it can break the odds and ultimately define how fast we can go.
PR - MARKETING
Formula Student Team Delft has al sorts of channels that are used to communicate the teams efforts to both the people interested as our partners. As a PR/Marketing position you are the one who creates content for social media, designs the promo for events, is responsible for the website and even more. You will be working closely with the operations manager when it comes to the events we have each year. You will help organize the design presentation, rollout and all the business fairs you might go to.
All in all a very creative and challenging position, which gives you a lot of freedom and responsibility.