Edinburgh University wins autonomous Formula Student for 2nd year
The Formula Student competition is run by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). It is now in its 21st year. Over 100 university teams travel to Silverstone in July to compete in both static and dynamic events.
In 2018 the autonomous part of the competition was added to the competition. Formula Student Artificial Intelligence (FS-AI) events include acceleration, sprint and tracks drives. And for the 2019 competition the Edinburgh University Formula Student (EUFS) team won the Track Drive event and also won the design presentation. They were awarded overall winners of FS-AI.
Support from Mapix technologies
Although the IMechE provided the drone vehicle, students had to equip it with their own sensors in order to complete the dynamic events.
Ignat Georgiev EUFS Autonomous Manager commented, “The hardest part of the challenge is that before the event the host car cannot have any data about the track. The car must process its surroundings in real time. For EUFS, the LiDAR sensor provided by sponsors Mapix Technologies proved vital. It helped in detecting the cones of the Formula Student track and more importantly estimating their location. The small amount of test time is quite hectic and stressful. It was great to see the car learn and complete the 10 laps in the fastest time.”
Continued LiDAR support from Mapix technologies
Support to the Edinburgh University team from Platinum sponsors Mapix technologies has come in the form mentoring from Gert Riemersma. Also the loan of a Velodyne VLP-16 PUCK, a 360° horizontal field of view LiDAR sensor. This has 16 laser channels, 100m range and scanning up to 600,000 points per second. Mapix are the official distributors of Velodyne LiDAR scanners in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Mapix are leading authorities in LiDAR integration.
Spirit of autonomous car engineering
Mapix CEO Gert Riemersma commented, “The Formula Student competition is an excellent opportunity for the students to work on a practical project. All on top of their coursework and exam preparations. The efforts put into developing the autonomous car is all in their own time. The team has worked tirelessly on the project and it is fantastic to see them win once again. This is a huge achievement for the Edinburgh University Formula Student team. We are thrilled to support such a passionate and talented team of young people. EUFS encapsulate the spirit of autonomous car engineering. We look forward to continuing to working with the team for next year’s challenge.”
Ignat added, “We are really grateful for the support provided by Gert and Mapix technologies. The advice from Gert to develop our software along with the use of the state-of-the-art LiDAR sensor supplied by Mapix has helped enormously. The autonomous electric wheelchair that was donated by Mapix also proved an ideal test bed. We named the wheelchair ‘William.’ Without him we would not have succeeded in the competition. The electric wheelchair was our only method of testing software in the real world and validating it before putting it in the car. Next year we face our biggest challenge so far in building an autonomous electric car.”
Congratulations once again and we wish the Edinburgh University Formula Student team every success for 2020.
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