Driverless racing: Schanzer Racing releases “SRd 17” autonomous race car
Going driverless on the Hockenheimring: This is the goal that the “Schanzer Racing Driverless Division” has set for itself. With support from BFFT, these talented young engineers from Ingolstadt are working on an autonomous race car. The “SRd 17” had its official rollout last Wednesday at the “neun” cultural center in Ingolstadt.
Ingolstadt (May 29, 2017) – Ever since “Schanzer Racing Electric” (SRE) was established at the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences (THI) in 2011, BFFT has been helping students construct electric race cars and acting as their main sponsor. In September 2016, part of the team decides to develop a self-driving race car, working under the name “Schanzer Racing Driverless Division”. As a specialist in driver assistance systems, the Ingolstadt-based automotive engineering designer was eager to accompany the students down the driverless path, too.
Schanzer Racing’s goal is to have their “SRd 17” driverless race car ready to hit the Hockenheimring track in August 2017. That’s where, for the first time ever, a Formula Student Germany (FSG) competition is being held in the “driverless” category. A total of 15 teams of students will be going up against each other, putting the race cars they’ve developed to the test. E.g. competing in a drag race or seeing which car can complete a course in the fastest time possible and any without errors – all this without a driver. In addition, a panel of experts will be there to examine business plans and technical concepts.
The 15-member “Driverless Division,” comprised of software programmers, mechanics, electronics engineers and industrial engineers, has been working on the autonomous “SRd 17” since March 2017. The design is based on last season’s vehicle, which is being rebuilt and outfitted with a cutting-edge sensor system. BFFT, with their expertise in autonomous driving, is providing SRE with electrical and mechanical support. Among other things, the specialists are handling the installation of servo-motors for the steering and brakes.
Working on the basis of deep neural networks, a sub-discipline of machine learning, the students are attempting, in the course of the development process, to teach the race car autonomous driving functions and to endow it with a sort of artificial intelligence. To do this, they’re implementing the NVIDIA Drive PX2-KI-Computing platform, the most advanced development platform for driverless vehicles in the world. It combines deep learning, sensor fusion and surround vision. This should enable the vehicle to use every single drive it takes as a learning process and allow it to independently react to the specific demands of the competitive disciplines.
On May 24, the Schanzer Racing Team finally unveiled the “SRd 17” at the “neun” cultural center: As part of the official rollout, the autonomous race car was introduced for the first time ever to sponsors, families and university representatives.