Formula Student introduced driverless, AI-controlled competition for 2018

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:
University of Cardiff winning Formula Student 2017

This year marks the first time that there will be a driverless element to the annual Formula Student competition. Run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Formula Student 2018 will see 130 student teams from over 30 countries take part in July.

Formula Student challenges the teams to design, build and race a single-seater racing car in one year. The cars are then judged on their speed, acceleration and endurance, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills.

The driverless element to the competition, FS-AI, will see some teams being 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. The new aspect of the competition ensures that FS continues to support industry by addressing the skills gap and providing mechanical engineering students with the opportunity for real-world experience of integrated electronics, software and systems engineering.

Cardiff Racing, who were crowned the Overall Winners in 2017 and were the first UK winners to do so, will be looking to retain their title. They are one of the 69 teams from the UK competing in this year’s competition.

“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,” said Andrew Deakin, chairman of Formula Student. “Formula Student is more than just a university project; it’s a unique, hands-on experience that can launch a student’s career. Competitors learn about teamwork, delivering challenging technical targets on time and within a tight budget and pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible.

“Many Formula Student alumni have progressed to work in professional motorsport, and are also highly valued in all sectors of industry, in disciplines such as aerospace, power industries and manufacturing.”

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