While mechanics and electronics have long been the focal point of racecar development, the role of software is rapidly growing in importance. Our Software department is a key player in determining the success of our racecar on the track. In this blog post, we'll delve into the crucial role software plays in the competitive world of Formula Student and how our team is leading the way. Get ready for an exciting look into the world of software in high-speed racing!
At Revolve NTNU, the Software department comprises three distinct groups: Control Systems, Autonomous Systems, and Data Engineering.
The Control Systems group is all about race performance. Using advanced estimation- and control theory, they enhance the traction, handling and stability of the car and develop systems to assist the driver. The group develops multiple driving modes with very different characteristics to make the car behave optimally in both a tight corner and a straight line. Control Systems also does modelling and simulation, aiming to build an accurate digital representation of our car. Through simulations, we can see the effects of different car parameters and setups early in the design phase, helping us make good design choices without physical testing.
The Autonomous Systems group ensures the car can drive on its own, without a driver. An intelligent autonomous race car must be able to map and perceive its surroundings to navigate unknown territories using LiDAR, SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) and path planning. The group develops the logic that works as the car's eyes, ears and brain, enabling it to understand its environment. In other words, the group converts sensor input to meaningful information about the vehicle and its environment. In addition, the group is responsible for the car’s autonomous control system, which enables the car to act on this sensor input and drive from A to B.
Lastly, the Data Engineering Group at Revolve NTNU is a vital part of the organisation's operations, providing a competitive edge through enhanced data analysis. They are responsible for ensuring the accessibility and security of the organisation’s data and facilitating its analysis by developing bespoke tools. This includes overseeing our real-time telemetry system, and our data storage solutions, and developing data analysis tools for members from all departments of the team. In other words, the Data Engineering group is responsible for providing the organisation with the right data at the right time to make informed decisions and drive the team's success.
The Agile development approach, used by all our groups, allows us to respond quickly to changes and fosters collaboration, communication, and teamwork among our team members. This not only helps us achieve our common goals but also prepares our members for the industry standard!
Thanks to the wide variety of tasks we work on, the software department at Revolve NTNU is a dynamic and exciting place to be. From writing code in C, C++, C#, Python, and MATLAB to developing software solutions that meet the unique needs of each project, there is never a dull moment in our department. The diversity of programming languages and projects means that our team members are constantly learning and growing, which makes the software department a great place to be for those who want to expand their skills and be a part of cutting-edge technology in the world of Formula Student racing!