Monash Motorsport are going Driverless!

The Formula Student Germany competition continues to challenge teams, and ran their first driverless competition class last year. Teams are required to design a vehicle capable of running without a driver in autonomous mode, as well as with a driver in manual mode. With the use of carefully selected sensors and sophisticated algorithms, the vehicle must sense its environment and run the track by itself. This is an extremely complex task but a very exciting endeavour that will challenge our team and keep us at the forefront of the competition.

Being a new project and requiring significant learning, we will use 2018 to ensure the foundations for the design of our autonomous system are set. Major components will be ordered by February, so that useful data can be collected, analysed and applied to our final designs this year. By 2019, we aim to have a driverless car, capable of completing all competition events.

From a pool of 40 applicants, we have recruited an additional 12 students, studying Mechatronics and Electrical Engineering. These members will be conducting their Final Year Projects to assist in the development of an autonomous system. We will also take on additional second year students with the general intake to ensure knowledge is carried forward to future iterations. Research is well underway and broadly separated into perception, mapping, path planning and actuation. Our subsystem designers have already presented their initial findings to the entire team and received valuable feedback.

For the design of our autonomous system, we have adopted a slightly different approach to our traditional design process. In addition to research and concept reports, the designers will be required to submit development proposals which identify which data and testing is essential for finalising their designs. Once this is approved, two months has been allocated to collecting, analysing and reporting on that testing.

The second half of the year will be spent polishing those designs before M18E is converted into our first ever driverless vehicle in 2019.

At Monash Motorsport, we are constantly challenging ourselves to develop skills applicable to the current automotive industry. This year, we lay the foundations for one team, three cars.