01 February 2021 00:00

ZF Driverless Challenge

Category: Partners

Autonomous Driving and E-Mobility are two main fields of our ZF Mission to the Next Generation Mobility. For us this goes hand in hand with our sponsorship of the Formula Student Competition. The times are changing rapidly and also at Formula Student the focus on Driverless Cars is increasing tremendously. It is very challenging to design and develop a fast race car that drives autonomously in the acceleration and skid-pad events.

To tackle this issue, ZF initiated the ZF Driverless Challenge. During a recent virtual Pitch Night, eight teams presented their technical concept and implementation plan for an autonomous system in their Formula Student vehicle for the 2021 season. The best five teams have been rewarded with a funding and individual coaching by ZF experts. Watch the video and get inspiring insights: https://fsg.one/sE6PQ.

Thanks to Elefant Racing, eForce Driverless, KA-RaceIng e.V., PWR Racing Team, FS Team Weingarten, AMZ Racing, Starkstrom Augsburg e.V. and Chalmers Formula Student for participation and outstanding innovation!

Now we go on working with the winning teams by coaching them for the next months. The focus of the coaching’s is adapted individually to the needs of the teams. There are ZF Buddies as sparring partners for the questions of the teams. They meet virtually and work together on questions like e.g. “How can perception, System Localization and Mapping (SLAM), path and trajectory planning be handled in the development processes for industrial projects and what specific issues for Formula Student can be addressed by these approaches?” In particular the focus on interactions between sub-systems is a focus which ZF can provide significant expertise on, due to the variety of our product portfolio. Additionally, best practices for software development and processes are shared between the teams and our ZF Team Buddies. The learning doesn’t only go one way! Hands-on practical knowledge, like the once gained by? Formula Student teams translates directly to industrial projects and is one of the main drivers behind our interest in the Formula Student initiative. Many of the Team Buddies from our ZF Formula Student Driverless Challenge are also Formula Student Alumni who have been able to apply their learnings in cross-functional projects where systems expertise is necessary. Being part of a Formula Student team, young people/the students learn a lot about the interaction of all systems and components of a driverless vehicle and the future of Autonomous Driving.

“The new format of the ZF Driverless challenge enables the teams as well as the ZF experts to collaborate on a much deeper level over a long time period. It is particularly interesting, but also challenging, to dive into this intense and direct collaboration. Our coaching has to advance to be more “spot on” but has a significantly bigger potential to achieve sustainable winnings for everyone” one of our ZF Buddies comments on the new format of the Driverless challenge.

Supplement: Driverless cars require artificial intelligence and enormous computing power. After all, it is impossible to program every single possible situation that could occur on the road, including the appropriate solution, onto the vehicles in advance. Instead, cars are being developed with cognitive abilities similar to that of a human brain so that they can make decisions that are not included in their code. In a fraction of a millisecond, self-driving cars must be able to take in a 360-degree view of the environment around them, interpret this information, verify the position of the vehicle itself, track the position of any sources of danger, and, naturally, calculate and carry out driving maneuvers

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