Fresh thinking at the Audi Autonomous Driving Cup
For the third year in a row, Audi hosted the 2017 Autonomous Driving Cup – an event that focuses on artificial intelligence, sensors and assistance systems – created especially for student teams. The purpose is to complete a given obstacle course as accurately and harmoniously as possible with a specially developed 1:8-scale-model of an Audi Q2. The students were given plenty of rope in the implementation of their software and have to prove their creativity to solve the occurring problems. After the preliminary round eight teams made it to the finals, where on November, 15th and 16th they fought for glory, honor and a prize money of 10,000 euros.
While a compulsory course and a scientific lecture were on the program on the first day, the creative part was the highlight on the second day. In the morning, the teams let their imagination run wild and presented their solutions to a freely chosen problem. These included both practical scenarios such as the fully autonomous recognition of an ambulance vehicle including the formation of a rescue lane (HTWK Leipzig) as well as fun projects. The team from Offenburg, for example, sent their Q2 on an autonomous slalom through Barbie dolls, while Team Carleone from the University of Bremen made their 1:8 model drive on a Mario kart course. Camera-based, the vehicle recognized symbols on the road such as ghosts or mushrooms, which triggered the appropriate response – they either shook the autonomous Q2 or made it drive faster.
The local heroes of TH Ingolstadt had made it to the finals as well once again: The team “leTHIt drive” had two Q2 race against each other in the freestyle round, decided by an especially written emoticon-dice-game. A camera recognized which symbol was rolled and then activated the stored property in the the respective vehicle. E.g.: two fields forward, one field back, suspend, etc. After that, the winner was allowed to use his model to turn gesture-controlled donuts.
However, that was not enough to win, because when things got serious in the afternoon final, the Technical University of Ilmenau prevailed. The team AFILSOP, consisting of Ngoc Thang Pham, Xujiang Huang, Evgeny Lazutkin, Shih-Jan Lin and Wenzhe Zhang, which conducts research in the field of “Simulation and optimal processes” under the direction of Dr.-Ing. Siegbert Hopfgarten has been working on the subject of “autonomous driving” for a long time and has even set up its own experimental vehicle on a scale of 1:5. So this year’s main prize of 10,000 euros goes to Thuringia. Second place and a prize of 5,000 euros were secured by the TACO team from Offenburg University of Applied Sciences. Third – and thus winner of 1,000 euros – was the Franconian contribution FAUtonOHM of the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Technical University of Nuremberg Georg Simon Ohm.
In addition to the competition, the Audi Autonomous Driving Cup 2017 was, above all, an excellent opportunity for the students to gain practical experience in the promising field of autonomous driving and to get in contact with the industry as well.
We congratulate all winners and participants of this year’s finals and look forward to the 2018 edition.