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Thread: Autonomous FSAE?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claude Rouelle View Post
    ... what does it take for SAE for make FSAE great again?
    Claude,

    Surely the answer to your question comes from the same source. Namely...

    DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!

    Z

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougMilliken View Post
    Claude,
    I looked briefly at the SAE/GM event and it doesn't seem anything like FSAE (except that cars are involved). The 8 teams are given Chevy Bolt electric cars and their task is to turn them into self driving cars. Since GM is giving away cars, it makes sense to me to have some initial vetting--so their investment isn't wasted on a team of dreamers that don't have the resources to make useful progress.
    Again, I didn't study the rules in detail, but this looks like a software contest, with integration of purchased sensors. Nothing like the sequence of engineering analysis, mechanical design, build, test & correlate in FSAE. Do you have other reasons to compare this to FSAE/FStudent?
    -- Doug
    That makes it even more pointless to run it in a three year cylce, as there is no work to do for getting the car running at all...

    In Formula Student driverless the Task is actually very similar. Teams also convert existing running cars into autonomous vehicles. But they don't Need three years (why should they...)

    And the limited number of those cars is also no reason for an invite only program. You could run a concept competition which is open and the best Teams of that can implement their concepts in the actual cars.

    Besides that I can only agree with Noah. FSAE is not a racing series. Therefore you should not argue about things like that as in regular racing series. The Major Point of FSAE is to give students a platform to gain practical experience in Engineering. Why should it be wrong to implement a field which is rapidly growing and promising great Job opportunities?
    Rennteam Uni Stuttgart
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  3. #13
    I agree with the statements made here:
    1) We need one-year cycle projects. Histroy showed that all teams that were running 2-year-cycles did not perform close to the level of the "regular" teams. 3-year student projects do not work. You can do that for PhD students or something like that.
    2) I am not a big fan of Autonomous motorsports. I don't see the point in those "Robo Races" that Formula E started to do but that is just personal. Maybe car OEMs will like to showcase their skills in Autonomous racing (see the Autonomous RS7 from Audi 1-2 years ago). I don't know if the fans will approve.
    3) I agree with Noah: FSAE is not about "getting to know motorsports". It is in the end an engineering and project management competition and I think adding an extra layer of complexity is super fun.

    A couple more points:
    - I was really quetioning the possibility of a -somewhat- successful Autonomous FSAE class; so far my successors in Zurich seem to be on a good path to create a somewhat fast car, so I assume it could be fun to watch in August
    - I am a bit sceptical if we can "roll this out". So that teams build Autonomous cars from scratch, etc. Bemo, I think the long term plan should be more than "transforming old cars into Driverless". Right now the cars are too heavy for the 10lap trackdrive due to too many batteries, and probably also too powerful.
    I don't know if we have enough teams and resources to have 3 independent competitions in FSG...
    - I am also a bit afraid that the "gap" between top teams and "regular" teams get incredibly big due to this new challenge.
    Right now we have 10-15 teams in Europe that really kick ass, that create awesome cars that are amazing to look at and watch and we probably have >100 teams that well are somewhat stuck in 2009, do not really develop...

    So let's see how this will play out
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  4. #14
    Being from a University that was "lucky" enough to be chosen for the Autodrive challenge, I've noticed one misconception about the competition. It is a yearly competition where you bring the same car for three years, not one competition every 3 years.
    Sean Rabenaldt
    Kettering University Formula SAE

  5. #15
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    Apples and Oranges

    Noah (and All) -- interesting to hear the makeup of your team. This is quite different from ~2000 when I started as a design judge. The students I met then were mostly interested in some aspect of the auto/racing industry. I have heard similar comments about recruiting team members where the FSAE teams were competing for people with a solar car team (or other student vehicle project). I still claim that these two driverless events are very different competitions and shouldn't be compared. While there may be some team member poaching, it doesn't seem like these would attract the same kinds of people? Below are some further thoughts on comparing the two events.

    Reference to your second post, I tried to say the same thing in my first and third bullets. These are non-spectator events, interesting for participants, same as most amateur racing. This includes autocross which is the stated market for FSAE cars (we could have a separate discussion about autocross as the basic justification for FSAE, but I think some other threads already exist.)

    FSD (driverless): I found this description of the event,
    https://www.formulastudent.de/pr/new...-germany-2017/ and also the rules from, https://www.formulastudent.de/pr/new...ules-2017-v10/

    From the video you linked the car was following a fully double-sided cone course. It appeared that they were staying on the centerline between the cones. During the event they don't have to pay attention to the rest of the environment, for example, rule,
    > D2.1.2 [DV ONLY ] There will be no flag signs for DV in autonomous mode.

    And the driving task is also simplified,
    > D8.1 Trackdrive Tracklayout
    removes the slaloms from the list of features for the regular endurance course.
    > D4.1.8 Independent of the weather, the track conditions will be made artificially “wet” (not for DV).

    For me, watching this video doesn't depend on the vehicle, it could be this re-purposed FSAE car, a little RC car, a battle bot (with onboard computing and sensing) or, with a scaled up course, a full sized car.

    SAE AutoDrive Challenge: description here, http://students.sae.org/cds/autodrive/event/
    > ... The technical goal of the competition is to navigate an urban driving course in an automated driving mode as described by SAE Standard (J3016) level 4 definition by year three.

    Level 4 is here, https://www.sae.org/news/3544/
    > Level 4 – High Automation: The driving mode-specific performance by an Automated Driving System of all aspects of the dynamic driving task, even if a human driver does not respond appropriately to a request to intervene

    Dealing with highway situations and traffic is orders of complexity harder than following cone courses. Even in the very early days of this technology, the DARPA Grand Challenge test I watched in 2005 included some randomly placed barrels that the vehicle had to maneuver around. You might make a case that following a cone course, at the limit of adhesion, does make the FSD competition technically interesting, but without differing surfaces (ie, wet), there isn't much application to emergency evasion on real roads.

    Looking at this press release, http://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2017/04/...rive-challenge the reason for the three year development becomes clear, it lays out goals in terms of robust control in an unpredictable environment--
    > Year 1 will focus on concept selection for university teams by having them become familiar with sensing and computation software. They will be tasked with completion of a concept design written paper as well as simple missions for on-site evaluation. These simple missions can include straight roadway driving and object avoidance/detection. ...

    In other words, Year 1 will already require considerably more "street smart" cars than FSD, due to the requirement for object detection & avoidance.

    > In Year 2 the teams will refine their concept selections into solid system developments and will have more challenging dynamic events for testing on-site, including dynamic object detection and multiple lane changing.
    > Year 3 will culminate with final validation of design and concept refinement. They will navigate complex objectives of on-site testing, including higher speeds, turnabouts and moving object detection.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z View Post

    DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!

    Z
    Many here might not understand that reference, but I do and I agree 100% Erik.

    The original old saying was "When you are up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember the original intention was to drain the swamp"

    Think about how that relates to contemporary FS/FSAE competitions!

    Pat
    The trick is... There is no trick

  7. #17
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    Uber FSAE

    While you are contemplating self-driving FSAE cars, keep in mind that these vehicles can have very poorly defined, designed and unsigned vehicle dynamics (unlike the Bolts you have mentioned). There already S.D. Bolts out there under control and watched critically.

    Therefore the safety aspects of operating such cars in open OR closed areas becomes a nightmare, considering the low test hours, unforeseen maneuvering territories, inexperienced programmers, questionable durability, hacking temptations, space, barriers, crowd control, and the birthpangs of a new pair of dimes.

    That means insurance, liability, venue concerns and likely dangerous practices will be pair of mounts.

    Say it ain't so. But meanwhile, I'd be willing to bet that Demolition Derby points could be awarded to the victims of Darwin.

    Start off with Figure-8 events for race heats. Let the 1st and 2nd place cars then compete for a championship.

  8. #18
    @Bill

    I think everything you said could be applied to the current state of Formula Student events around the world with a single and possibly critical distinction. An event running a formula driverless competition has the option of installing their own event-designed remote kill switch to the self driving vehicles. As of right now, the 'driver-full' cars are capable of having an inexperienced and panic-prone student at the helm, ready and able to ignore all signaling from officials or car control logic at their own whim.

    The idea of a poorly-built FS car careening out of control is as old as FS itself. I'm not sure that argument can hold muster any better than its 'driver-full' counterpart with respect to all of the insurance / liability / venue concerns etc. that were raised.

    Personally, I can see the future of Formula Driverless being a bit more exciting than Formula Student since it would allow for a 'safe' method of wheel to wheel driving. For example, run all of the standard Formula Student events and then allow the 'Top 5' runoff to be a wheel-to-wheel race. This kind of additional feature would add a great set of the additional problems which are being faced by road-going vehicles. While it may not be true that a pedestrian would walk in front of a race car, collision avoidance from another car or a set of cars in front would provide a very similar problem to solve to the car's AI.
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  9. #19
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    Seems to me autonomous fsae would absolutely require wheel to wheel racing.
    The challenge is navigating a dynamic area with other cars, not just following a line.

    The best part about it would be how 'daring' the cars could be.
    The cars could race at 10/10ths and if they crash you don't need marshals to save the driver, just let the car sit (if it is off track).
    I would envision a track with zero humans in the field and everyone at a safe distance.

    The simplest way to achieve this would be with a spec go-kart chassis, engine, drivetrain, and brakes.
    The aero and autonomous-ness would be where they competed.
    The competition would not be held along side regular FSAE events but rather at tracks where go-karts are already raced.

    By focusing on specifically on the autonomous-ness and using a spec go-kart the project complexity is reduced and a one year design cycle is more readily achieved.
    The aerodynamics would be open for competition because they would depend greatly on what sensors are used.

    -William

  10. #20
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    I'm confused, it has been days...
    Why are you all not telling me how bad my idea is?
    This is not like you; should I call the doctor?

    -William

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