UPC ecoRacing, a team of students in the autonomous future

The autonomous car of a group of students of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia of Terrassa does not stop in front of COVID-19.

A team of 24 students, participants of the Formula Student, in their desire to continue in the technological avant-garde, and having as a fundamental pillar the sustainability, starts a new stage of training and design to implement, in no less than 2 years, the team's first autonomous car.

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The UPC ecoRacing team with their ecoRX 2019

This team with more than ten years of history, after being victorious in four of the most prestigious European Formula Student competitions with five trophies obtained, and sharing the objective of the international scene, the autonomous vehicle, decides to take the next step to get closer to a more autonomous and sustainable future.

The incorporation of new members, of which seven will be devoted exclusively to study the new autonomous car systems, opens the way to new challenges that the team hopes to overcome with the help and commitment of its sponsors.

Unfortunately, given the current situation with the Covid-19, its initial plan to make the last evolution of the ecoRX concept and compete for Europe cannot be carried out this season due to the cancellation of the competitions. However, UPC ecoRacing is determined to implement the new improvements in the vehicle with the help of its sponsors, in order to validate them and continue to improve. At the same time, given the halt to all face-to-face work, this confinement stage has served to work on telematics training for all the members, delving into concepts and thus advancing the design of the next year single-seater.

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Cone recognition with the ecoRX 2019 cameras

Thanks to the knowledge obtained from the ecoRX, it starts from a car with four motors in wheel that has intelligent control algorithms such as traction control or Torque Vectoring, which allows the vehicle to control the torque given by the motors to each wheel in every instant.

However, the development of the new vehicle falls, therefore, in making a complete sensorization of the car, using sensors such as gyros, accelerometers and GPS (the same ones that mobile phones use to locate themselves) to know the position and state of the car accurately at all time.

Infrared sensors and cameras complete the autonomous system, providing the car with eyes, allowing it to make decisions and act through neural networks, optimizing the path on each lap and thus reducing time on each turn. The vehicle is controlled by actuators to replace a real driver entirely. This allows to switch between manual and autonomous driving as desired, in order to continue testing the vehicle at all times and continue improving it.

Using these new pioneering technologies in the automotive world, UPC ecoRacing hopes to train new engineers capable of being at the forefront of innovation, in order to ensure progress towards a more sustainable and efficient future.