Autumn Semester Recap

The Autumn semester has flown by in the blink of an eye, and a lot has happened since the 2024 team took over the baton from Team 2023 in September. Here’s a recap!

We started up in September with a two week boot camp where the new members got to know their systems. Much of this time was spent reading theory and documentation of their system from previous years.

After courses in, amongst other things, electronic system design, CAD (Computer Aided Design),FEM (Finite Element Method) and the autonomous driving pipeline, we went straight into our Concept Review event. Here, we presented our plans and system concepts for the year for the team and alumni. Using the feedback gained from this, we iterated on the design of our systems. The design phase is short, only lasting from autumn till Christmas, which pushes us to work efficiently. Let’s look into what each group has been working on this Autumn, starting with the Mechanical department.

Our Concept Review, featuring current members and previous members (alumni) providing insightful feedback and guidance.

For the motor and gearbox, the Suspension & Drivetrain group has focused on how parts interface.They have looked especially at how to improve the accuracy of the gears’ positioning and resulting effect on efficiency and heat reduction, whilst keeping the manufacturing cost low. Overall, the group has analyzed the car’s dynamics and kinematics to find the optimal balance between compliance and weight. By using FEA (Finite Element Analysis), they have simulated the loads in structural parts and optimized and validated their performance.

To make our car faster and stay closer to the ground without adding weight, we utilize how the wind flows when the car drives. Aerodynamics has spent the autumn designing the aerodynamic elements for the car and simulating their performance. After countless iterations, they are closing in on a final design, which will come to life in the production period after Christmas.

The chassis embodies all other systems that, together, form the car. The Chassis group has therefore spent their autumn designing the chassis, including the layup and structural testing. Their production period also starts after Christmas, and they are looking forward to turning the digital designs into tangible objects that eventually will become a car.

For Driver Interface, their focus has been on optimizing their systems in terms of weight, maintenance and performance. The car seat has been cast to best fit this year’s drivers, and design in various systems have been changed to make improvements. Overall, the group has investigated how systems, such as the pedal box and steering system, act and are affected under the various tests at the competitions, such that they can optimize their systems further.  

Working analytically to optimize our mechanical systems.

In the Electrical department, we find Embedded Electronics and Power Systems. For Embedded Electronics, the Autumn has been characterized by PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design and software development. Recently, they received the first version of their boards from our long-time partner Inission. Thus, the last couple of weeks have been spent soldering and testing the boards. Next up: a new revision of the boards, which also will be soldered and tested before being placed on the car.

Power Systems' semester has been spent taking ideas from the previous project year through review after review, ensuring high quality, before finally building the 3D models. Building on the previous teams’ focus on reliability, this year is also shaped by that focus. Additionally, the group has looked into ways of optimizing their production process, time, and budget.

One of our old PCBs.

The next three groups reside in the Software department. Firstly, Control Systems has undergone a few different focus areas. In the beginning, a large focus was placed on vehicle dynamics, as the physical understanding of how a vehicle behaves lays the foundation for further work on both modeling and control system design. In the Torque Vectoring project, a Kalman filter for velocity estimation was further developed, to limit system failures due to sensor failures. Additionally, a new controller, able to adapt to changes in conditions, was developed for acceleration. Development also took place in our self developed lap time simulation software, where we developed a model for our accumulator, as well as improved the energy loss models, to enable endurance simulations.

In the past few months, Data Engineering has designed and started this year's project of creating a new and improved system for processing and visualizing data from the car's sensors live while it drives on track. They have designed and begun development of a new full-stack solution for Aerodynamics that will consolidate much of their work in one place. Lastly, they have started planning the further development of the logging system that we use when testing the car.

Autonomous Systems has spent the semester exploring new concepts for estimating the car’s pose and velocity to make the car even more reliable when driving autonomously. Additionally, the group is looking into new ways to calculate a racing line for Autocross (best lap time) and Trackdrive (endurance run for driverless vehicles) competition events to minimize the lap time as much as possible. Lastly, they are looking to expand their sensor package with a second perception sensor to ensure all cones on the track are detected.

Some of the data collected that Control Systems works with to ensure optimal car control.

Lastly, the Marketing group has directed their attention to enhancing the content creation on our platforms. In October, they went on a tour to the Oslo area to visit sponsors of the team to catch up and showcase the 2023 car, LYRA. The tour was filled with insightful and motivating conversations at the sponsors’ facilities.

Overall, the Autumn semester has been packed with busy days with steep learning curves that have resulted in a car design ready to be produced after Christmas. 

Our 2023 car, LYRA, by the Oslo opera house this autumn.

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