Formula Student adds ‘driverless cars’ race category in its 20th year

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Formula Student, the student racing car event run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), will see 130 student teams from over 30 countries take part in July 2018.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this year marks the first time that there will be a driverless element to the competition, FS-AI, with 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.

IMechE states that the new aspect of the competition will ensure the event 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.
Formula Student challenges university teams from across the world 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.

Cardiff Racing, who were crowned the overall winners in 2017 and 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.

“To design and build a competitive racing car in one year, whilst studying for a degree, is no mean feat. The level of innovation, commitment and ambition that the teams display is incredible and it’s very exciting to see their hard work pay off,” said Formula Student chairman Andrew Deakin.

“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.


“This new, exciting element to the competition aims to encourage enterprising students to look to the future by designing the software for a fully autonomous Formula One-style vehicle in a safe environment.

Partners and sponsors of this year’s competition include Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, ExxonMobil, Infiniti, Robert Bosch Ltd and GKN plc.

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