Formula Student adds autonomous element for 20th anniversary

Formula Student will celebrate its 20th anniversary by introducing an autonomous software component to the competition for the first time.

Formula Student

Held at Silverstone, this year’s event will see 130 student teams from over 30 countries take part in July. Teams are challenged to design and build single-seat race cars which are tested on speed, acceleration and endurance, while the students themselves are judged on their design, costing and business presentation skills.

This year will see autonomous driving make its debut at the competition with FS-AI. Some of the teams will be tasked with developing a cost-effective software package to enable an Artificial Intelligence (AI) car to make its own decisions, and evolve to improve its own performance. FS-AI has been introduced to ensure that Formula Student keeps pace with the demands of the automotive industry, providing mechanical engineering students with real-world experience of integrated electronics, software and systems engineering.

“To design and build a competitive racing car in one year, whilst studying for a degree, is no mean feat,” said Andrew Deakin, chairman of Formula Student. “The level of innovation, commitment and ambition that the teams display is incredible and it’s very exciting to see their hard work pay off.”

“The fact that we are introducing a new AI element this year is particularly exciting, as AI is already transforming so many industries, including the automotive sector. This new, exciting element to the competition aims to encourage enterprising students to look to the future by designing the software for a fully autonomous Formula One-style vehicle in a safe environment.”

Last year’s event saw Cardiff University become the first UK team to be crowned as overall winners. Cardiff Racing will return in 2018 as one of 69 UK teams in the completion, which takes place between Wednesday 11 July – Sunday 15 July.