As we enter this new phase, our project takes a transformative leap. No longer a side pursuit, Revolve NTNU becomes the sole focus of a dedicated group within our team. A select few remain in Trondheim for the summer, fully committing themselves to the task of bringing our race car to its pinnacle of performance. This transition marks a significant shift as we transition from a project managed alongside our studies to an all-encompassing, around-the-clock endeavor.
To maximize efficiency and ensure optimal progress, we divide the team staying in Trondheim into two shifts. The night shift takes on the crucial responsibility of preparing the car, meticulously fine-tuning every detail, and ensuring that it is ready to unleash its power on the track. Under the moonlit skies, the night shift works diligently, sparing no effort to transform the race car into a precision-engineered masterpiece.
Simultaneously, the day shift assumes the vital role of pushing the car to its limits. They conduct rigorous testing, exploring every facet of the car's capabilities and fine-tuning its performance based on empirical data. With the sun illuminating their path, they embark on a relentless pursuit of optimization, working tirelessly to extract every ounce of speed, agility, and efficiency from the vehicle.
This division of labor allows us to strike a harmonious balance, ensuring that no moment is wasted. The night shift prepares and refines the car for the day shift's intensive testing sessions. And as the sun sets, the night shift takes over once again, continuing the iterative process of improvement.
This period of round-the-clock dedication demands sacrifice and unwavering commitment from our team members. It requires a shared understanding that sleep may become a luxury and personal time may be scarce. Yet, amidst the long hours and relentless efforts, the team spirit burns brighter than ever.
Every late-night session and every early morning test becomes an opportunity for growth, both individually and as a team. We learn to trust one another's expertise, communicate seamlessly, and make split-second decisions in pursuit of perfection. It is a time of intense collaboration, where our collective knowledge and diverse perspectives intertwine, driving us towards unprecedented heights of achievement.
As the car takes shape and our collective efforts bear fruit, the anticipation for the competition season grows exponentially. The countless hours invested in the workshop and the rigorous testing sessions become a testament to our unwavering dedication and a source of immense pride.
In the coming months, we will embark on an unforgettable journey — a journey fueled by relentless optimization and collective passion. With each passing day, we edge closer to the ultimate test — the competition. It will test our car but also our teamwork and knowledge. To be among the very best we need to know among the very most.
The summer work is a crucible that will forge us into a stronger, more resilient team. It is a chapter filled with exhilarating days, where the car's performance is honed to perfection. And as we venture into this uncharted territory, we are filled with anticipation, excitement, and an unwavering belief that our hard work and dedication will leave an indelible mark on this season's Formula Student competitions.
One of Revolve NTNU’s core values is innovation, which is firmly rooted in the nature of Formula Student competitions. Innovation and success go hand in hand, so to stay at the top of the pack, we must keep innovating new solutions that cover our racecar’s needs and bring us closer to our goals. We carry that forward way of thinking over to both our systems and organizational aspects. In a world where software solutions are becoming more critical, we take advantage of evolving technology to design solutions that meet our needs. This aligns perfectly with the priorities of one of our largest sponsors, RecMan.
At RecMan, they are the devoted experts and the preferred IT solution for thousands of companies within the fields of professional services, staffing and recruitment. In addition to that, their state-of-the-art CRM and ATS solutions, also help streamline internal administrative processes for a wide range of companies. The complete RecMan platform is divided into the following five subsets, each tailored to let you get the most out of your team’s potential: Consulting, Recruitment, Staffing,ATS and CRM.
For the company delivering professional services, the RecMan Consultant Suite revolutionizes managing projects and client interactions. It provides all the functionality your consultants need to stay on top of their assigned projects. With a complete CRM, workforce management, advanced functionality for time-registration, a unique portal for the client to monitor progress, invoicing, and much more - RecMan is the preferred choice for any business that delivers their expertise as a service.
For the professional recruiter, the RecMan Recruiter Suite delivers new highs to the recruitment process and creates top-tier candidate experiences. It serves as a complete business toolkit for professional agencies, recruiters and executive search companies. The all-inclusive CRM software, along with SMS, calendar, invoicing, sales, email integration, calendar synchronization, CV parsing, customer modules and other features, will increase your team efficiencies (and make your life easier!).
The RecMan Staffing Suite provides an all-in-one solution tailored specifically for staffing agencies. The software utilizes the wide-ranging CRM, as well as the industry’s most comprehensive toolset for staffing solutions, recruiting solutions, and services. It’s no surprise that RecMan has been the number one choice for staffing agencies inNorway for half a decade!
When it comes to their RecMan ATS Suite, RecMan leaves their European competitors in the dust – much like our racecar! The platform is professional, user-friendly and can easily be integrated into a company’s existing system. In addition to full GDPR compliance, it easily meets all HR needs. As a result, the HR department can focus on actually doing their work instead of getting lost in complicated software solutions.
The RecMan CRM helps you maximize your customer interactions and streamline your pipeline like never before. With its wide range of functionality such as lead generation, invoicing, portfolio monitoring, electronic signing of documents, integrations with mail and calendar and much more, it caters to all businesses looking for a new level of efficiency and effectiveness in customer relationship management.
RecMan software is completely cloud-based, allowing its users to access the app on any device with a browser, at any time. With an impressive run time of 100% the last five years, you can be assured of its reliability.
Much like RecMan, Revolve NTNU develops forward-thinking software solutions. While the former provides a wide array of products to meet specific market needs, we develop products catering to the needs of our racecar team. For racecar teams, the feedback from the driver and direct data from the racecar’s sensors are essential to successful solution development. The sensor data is monitored and diagnosed, and then used to configure the car from production to competition. The requirements are highly specific to our use, and no commercial solution would be sufficient.
Each of our team’s technical departments has varying needs in how they utilize the racecar data, and they store and process the data differently. With the rapid development of modern software and increasingly complex systems on our racecar, our 2017-developed software solution, Analyze, is at the twilight of its proud tenure. Our team has found a need for a more reliable solution. As a result, our Data Engineering group has started developing a descendant of Analyze, which will be divided into a separate telemetry platform (NTS) and data analysis platform (SKN). These new solutions will provide a real-time overview of data generation and usage, a standard for data protection and recovery, native software interoperability, an easy way of locating and extracting specific information, and raise the potential for data valorization. RecMan’s reliable systems inspire us every day to push ourselves to make our software solutions as stable as possible.
Together with RecMan, Revolve NTNU believes the future is data-oriented, and how you take advantage of the new possibilities will be the deciding factor in becoming successful, no matter what business you’re in. Our aligned approach to this future, characterized by innovation, ambition and dedication to pushing technological advancements, is what makes RecMan and Revolve NTNU such great partners.
The businesses of tomorrow will depend on data acquisition, analysis and insight, and one-size-fits-all commercial solutions will not always be sufficient. The ideal solutions will be tailored to a business’s needs, and both RecMan and Revolve NTNU keep this in mind at all times. RecMan provides a broad toolset, but the ability to tailor each dashboard and system to a user’s specific needs truly sets them apart from the competition. Our software solutions are wide-ranging but just as tailored to each user as RecMan’s solutions. Additionally, we both focus on providing reliable systems that are accessible, protected and fast.
We are grateful for having such a leading-edge partner on our team. Together, we are racing forward into a future where data and analytics reign and the reliability and safety of systems will make or break a business. With RecMan’s achievements to inspire and guide us, we are looking forward to the future of software solutions.
Mjøs Metallvarefabrikk AS is a manufacturing company, with in-house production capabilities for prototyping, casting, machining, assembly, and testing. Their key strategy is to support customers with production know-how and provide engineering services with a real design-for-production approach.
The company is well equipped for engineering turn-key solutions; as a stand-alone service or in joint cooperation with the customer. Mjøs Metallvarefabrikk AS manufactures a wide variety of mechanical precision components for the maritime industry, the offshore and subsea market, as well as other demanding industries.
Their facility is located on Osterøy, just north of Bergen. Mjøs Metallvarefabrikk AS was established in 1865, hence representing more than 150 years of proud heritage within the foundry and machining business.
Mjøs Metallvarefabrikk AS focuses on state-of-the-art technological solutions to ensure competitive and sustainable production of mechanical components and products. This requires sustained focus, continuous development of their organization, and the technological tools and equipment they utilize in production.
To ensure their competitive strategy, Mjøs Metallvarefabrikk is conducting a number of internal development projects, and are participating in extensive development programs with renowned industry partners and research institutions. They strive to maintain a close dialogue with relevant educational institutions, both to ensure the recruitment of future employees, and to convey the industry’s requirements and expectations of the respective educational institutions.
Mjøs Metallvarefabrikk AS looks at sponsoring Revolve NTNU as a great opportunity to support technological development, and to participate in creating an ever more impressive race car. The journey taken on by a new team of students each year, truly correlates to their own mission - putting theory into practice.
Since they started working with Revolve NTNU in 2018, they’ve almost made it a tradition to machine our rim centers. During the 2020 season they also took upon us the challenge to machine their new aluminium uprights, and for the 2021 as well as the 2022 season they machined our new rim centers, which also functions as the hub for our gearbox. This season they are machining a re-designed version of last years rim center, which will make more space for the brake system, and house new sturdier wheel bearings.
Revolve NTNU is always impressed with the parts Mjøs Metallvarefabrikk AS delivers, and are thankful for the complex machining expertise they bring to the project, which enables us to push boundaries and increase the performance of our racecar.
LYRA is an awakening speed monster eager to attack the race track. She has a strong body fit to tackle any turn, a steady circulatory system effectively transmitting signals and distributing energy, and a refined nervous system turning impulses from the surroundings into agile movement. With these features, she will blaze through the race track as fast as a shooting star. In other words, the mechanical and electrical systems, tied together by software, forms our eleventh racecar in a line of top-performing predecessors.
After eight months of innovation, ambition and dedication, we unveiled this year’s racecar at Samfundet in Trondheim. The result of teamwork extending the experience, knowledge and skill of previous teams stood proudly before the eyes of this year’s team, our sponsors, alumni, friends and family. The screen pixels had become tangible, and the beauty of innovation and teamwork tugged on our heartstrings. Throughout the evening, we got to know each other and the car. In this blog post, you will get to know LYRA’s mechanical, electrical and software features.
One of the main factors contributing directly to the racecar’s performance is its weight. Since the formation of our team in 2010, we have spent countless hours shaving off as many grams as possible. This year’s car weighs only 164 kg, and after millions of processing hours, we have designed and produced an aerodynamic package providing 867 N of downforce. With a center of mass as low as 267 mm above ground, we have found the perfect balance between having a lightweight car, optimal track grip, ease of control and predictable behavior.
The carbon fiber monocoque brings strength and structure, and by using new geometries in our core material, we are able to save grams. Progressing into our second year of making an EV-DV (manual and autonomous driving modes) merged car, we have found new ways of making the pedals, seat and steering system accessible in both driving modes. For the first time, we have designed our own steering rack, increasing the precision in driverless mode.
The use of multibody simulations has allowed us to accurately identify the ideal balance between mass and stiffness, damper system stiffness and damping and much more. This thorough groundwork has resulted in a suspension system weighing mere 47 kg. A brand new strain gauge system aids us in validating the forces produced by the tyres and aerodynamic elements, where the data will be valuable for years to come.
This year’s aerodynamic package is designed to maximize the performance both in turns and straights. From more than 1000 simulations, a set of new aerodynamic elements have emerged, which will supply the car with almost the same amount of downforce in a straight as in a turn. At a top speed of 115 km/h, the downforce will equal twice the weight of the car – 320 kg.
Trying out new concepts is only half the job. To validate the new concepts, we have implemented a new sensor system that will utilize a pitot probe that will measure the wind velocity and a set of strain gauges that will reveal the downforce at all times.
Such sensors are principally simple, but don’t be fooled. Advanced electronics are hidden underneath. Both the pitot probe and the strain gauges belong to a new low voltage system. This new system consists of 4 controllers communicating with 20 workers. The controllers are placed in each corner of the car, whilst the workers are placed in the braces of the suspension.
The heart powering our beast of a car is the 600 V, 6.3 kWh accumulator (battery pack), consisting of 288 battery cells and weighing 45 kg. More than 300 sensors monitor the voltage and temperature of each battery cell. This monitoring system ensures safety as well as the ability to precisely decide when to push the car to the limit during a race. Additionally, having our accumulator management system based on microcontrollers eases the debugging and development process.
The accumulator administers the low and high voltage, and the power distribution is controlled by a PCB (printed circuit board), called PCU (Power Control Unit). Enhanced with a microcontroller, this board lets us measure the current running through our low voltage system, such that we may become more energy efficient and design systems based on the actual power needed in the future.
The PCU is located inside a large casing which also houses other larger components of the low voltage system. The new setup has resulted in a simpler wire harness inside the car, as well as made it easier to test several systems outside the car.
Our in-house developed inverter is one of the most innovative and complex systems in the car. Last year, we used our 2019-version inverter, but the development of a descendant has been in the works since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This year, we are implementing the next generation of our inverter, called I21. It’s smaller and lighter and can be assembled and disassembled quicker than its predecessor, saving us valuable time during the testing and competition season.
In order to keep the car going, a stable cooling system is a must. This year, we utilize phase changing materials. At high temperatures, the material turns to liquid. The greatest advantage of this is the ability to provide a tighter accumulator casing, preventing rubble and dust from entering. This cooling method also acts as a firewall surrounding each individual cell, equipping the car with another layer of protection. Additionally, we use parallel water-cooling-circuits on either side of the car to prevent our motors, the inverter and the processing unit for the autonomous systems from overheating.
Contributing to the overall focus on development and validation of designs, the Software department has developed a new data storage solution: SKN. Our previous solution was beautifully engineered, but over time, it had turned into a tangled and unadaptable system. The new system will change the way we work with the car’s data across departments. Now, all data is collected in a single place, and the various exporting methods accommodate all our needs.
One of the data type inputs of SKN is data from our in-house developed lap time simulator. This simulator allows us to see the effect of our designs before even producing the car. In order to increase the accessibility of the simulator within the team, we have developed an improved user interface.
In addition to validating our designs with the help of a simulator, we validate the simulator itself. By comparing data collected from a simulation with actual data from drives, we have been able to make our simulator correlate 90% with reality. The secret lies in the level of detail in the simulator, but those exact details will remain a team secret for now.
To make LYRA drive autonomously, we switch out a human driver’s eyes with a LiDAR, the legs become actuators, and the brain turns into a processing unit capable of evaluating over 300 trajectory decisions per second. In manual driving, we take advantage of torque vectoring. This algorithm calculates and applies the optimal force distribution for each tyre, resulting in the best possible grip. This year, the application of torque vectoring will be able to advance our autonomous driving, opening the door to a sea of possibilities.
The test and competition season is right around the corner, and we are excited to take LYRA to the finish line. Join our journey by keeping an eye out for updates on our blog and social media accounts.
Trondheim 02.04.2023, and we are well into the Easter break and the assembling of subsystems in the new race car. Since January, we have been hard at work trying to finish our CAD models and realise them into real-world products. The stages we go through are as follows; CAD-check, machine drawings, submission of jobs, waiting and receiving parts. Only then will the assembling of systems really start. But first, I will describe each of these phases more in depth.
CAD-check, as mentioned in a previous blog post, has been something we do three times before Christmas, but after a long and well-deserved break, we may have come up with some ideas for small changes to polish the design of the parts. At the end of the January workshop, a three-day long CAD check takes place, and the entire vehicle assembly (consisting of 5383 parts) is thoroughly checked to reveal errors. These are fixed, and we can advance to the next stage, which is machine drawings.
At the end of the January workshop, we had the pleasure of having a machine drawing course (GPS) held by GKN Norway with assistance from Nammo at our offices. There we learn the basics of GPS as well as a better understanding of tolerances and how the interfaces with some thinking can contribute to allowing larger tolerances without necessarily compromising functionality.
After the machine drawing course, we spend roughly one month making drawings and checking them internally. With the help of GPS, we are able to allow more moderate tolerances whilst maintaining the functionality of a part. This eases manufacturability and provides more flexibility. However, to perform at the top more precision and stricter demands are necessary to make the parts, assembly and car as a whole perfect. Norway has a lot of industries serving offshore activities, from the fish industry to the development of AUVs, and with the interest and firms enjoying some challenges, we get world-class parts, and we are proud to also represent Norwegian craftsmanship through the delicate parts working together to accelerate us to the top.
The parts are usually sent at the end of January to mid-February, and we estimate to have them back at the end of March, right before easter. During Easter, we measure, control and make sure the parts are within the tolerances and specifications. They are then put into crates for each of the systems, and when every part is in-house, the assembly takes place.
While the parts are being produced, detailed assembly planes are made based on a master plan that is made during the autumn, and it sets the dates for when systems are intended to be mounted. When the system is mounted, the member(s) responsible will try to help out others that are not finished or work on documentation for the competition season.
As we are in the final sprint of the design and manufacturing stage of the project, I would like to end by thanking the people and firms that helped us realise a new car this year as well; it is never given, so thank you. We are excited to receive the last parts and be able to show what we have put together for 2023!
Since the last Team Update in January, a lot has happened. If the autumn semester is fast, then the spring semester is accelerating as swiftly as our racecar. To many, it feels like the introductory bootcamp in September was yesterday. However, we’re more than halfway through the project year and have made incredible progress both as a racecar-building team and as individuals. Let’s have a look at some of the things each group has done since the beginning of 2023.
In February, we held our first admission period for next year’s team. We are looking for the next generation of Board members and group leaders. Admitting new leaders one semester ahead of our main admission allows them to obtain valuable experience about the organization and their positions before welcoming their group members. They are able to shadow the current leaders and learn all the ins and outs of the everyday lifestyle of a Revolve NTNU member. They are also able to attend the car testing and competitions in the summer, gaining even more experience especially in the logistics required to run a team in such a fast-paced environment.
The Marketing Department
Parallelly with the admission period, we held our annual career fair, RevolveDay, at NTNU campus Gløshaugen. We are grateful for all participating sponsors, visiting students, and our main presenter, Joe Jones from WAE Technologies. You can read more about how the event unfolded in this blog post.
The Electrical Department
Besides testing and soldering PCBs (printed circuit boards), the Embedded Electronics group has been working on a new inverter. The inverter system has not been changed since 2019, but the development of a new version started in 2021. Now, 2023 is the year. We are proud of how several years of technological advancement is resulting in the implementation of an inverter that saves space and is more easily constructed and deconstructed. This will save us crucial time when debugging the system. We are also looking forward to seeing how the new inverter will perform on track.
Power Systems is thrilled to have found a new way of fastening our battery cells. The new system saves us 200 g. In comparison, a cup of granulated sugar also weighs 200 g. Such weight might not sound like a lot, but for a racecar, weight is everything. In order to be the fastest on track, you have to be lightweight but not at the cost of the structural aspect. Since the beginning of Revolve NTNU’s existence, the organization has been shaving off grams racecar by racecar. Additional weight could make the difference between pole positions or reaching the pole at all. Just as every member contributes to the success of the team, every car part counts in the journey of achieving that success.
The Mechanical Department
After finishing their last CAD (computer aided design) check and design simulations, Aerodynamics has been busy milling molds, learning how to make machine drawings and bond. They have also learned about the machining process of the car parts and performed an aerodynamic sensitivity study. The process of making an aerodynamic element, such as the front wing, rear wing and more, can be summed up into about 16 steps. We will not go into further detail in this text, but one thing is for sure: every step must be executed with high precision in order for the final product to perform as simulated.
Our Chassis group went to the facilities of one of our main sponsors – Kongsberg Gruppen – to produce the racecar’s monocoque and main hoop. Additionally, they produced and tested anti intrusion plates (AIPs). These plates are intended to prevent any foreign objects from entering the chassis during an impact where the impact attenuator (IA) is damaged. Once back in Trondheim, you could feel the air fill with excitement. Having something in the workshop that starts looking like a racecar certainly makes the whole project seem more real. The racecar is no longer just pixels on a screen. It’s actually tangible.
Similarly to the other groups in the Mechanical Department, Suspension & Drivetrain has learned about machining and making machine drawings. Amongst other things, they have already started developing a gearbox concept for next year’s racecar. With input from fellow members and our strong alumni network, we are looking forward to seeing how our gearbox can advance.
For Driver Interface, time has been spent working on the emergency brake system (EBS) for the driverless aspect of the racecar. This is a mechanical fail-safe brake system triggered by the detection of an unsafe state or if the remote emergency system (RES) is triggered. The group has also worked on assembling the pedal box, casting heel and toe caps, and bonding the firewall.
The Software Department
Running simulations on how our racecar will perform in various scenarios with different setups aids us in making critical design choices. Optimizing these simulations is part of the responsibility of the Control Systems group. Since January, they have researched and discussed how to make our simulators simpler, faster and more iterable. Amongst other things, they have implemented torque vectoring in our simulators, and are currently implementing aero maps in our simulators and developing an interface between our torque vectoring system and VCU (vehicle control unit). So far, they have achieved a 96% reduction in runtime when scaling correctly for the lap time simulator – an incredible achievement.
Revolve NTNU’s racecars generate considerable amounts of data. The information from the numerous sensors and controls of the car are essential in monitoring, diagnosing and configuring the racecar from production to competition. The data is key in optimizing the future racecar designs. With such specific requirements, no commercial solution is sufficient. That’s why our 2017 Software Development team built Analyze, a WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) application, providing essential tools for data acquisition and analysis. Since then, the app has been invaluable. However, over the years, the complexity has increased at the cost of the software reliability. Therefore, this year’s Data Engineering group has worked on developing a descendant of Analyze. The alpha release has already enlightened areas of improvement, and soon, the beta testing will begin. We are enthusiastic about how the new software will complement groups across the organization’s departments and elevate the racecar.
Earlier in the project year, the organization decided it was time to migrate from ROS1 to ROS2. ROS (Robot Operating System) is an open-source set of software libraries and tools useful for the creation of robotic systems and intended to accelerate and enhance the process. ROS1 was created in 2007 and the last version was released in 2020, with an EOL (end of life) scheduled for 2025. In order to get ahead of the game, Autonomous Systems has successfully migrated Revolve NTNU’s ROS1 system to ROS2. After promising and successful research and discussions throughout the project year, we are looking forward to incorporating recurrent neural networks (RNN) for our state estimation. With state estimation being one of the essential tasks of an autonomous system, used in localization, object tracking, mapping and more, it’s safe to say that trying out a new method that has the potential to perform better than its predecessor is exciting. The new advancements in our autonomous systems will take our racecar to the next level.
Last week, they attended the Formula Student team e-gnition’s Autonomous Racing Workshop (ARWo). Read all about it in this blog post.
Besides their regular positions in various groups, the drivers have continuously worked on improving their lap times in our very own driving simulator, as well as keeping their physique fit to race. As with any project, you are bound to make mistakes every now and then. Our drivers analyze their faults but don’t dwell on them. They pick up where they left off and get back to practicing. Even the smallest of improvements contribute to overall progress. The Formula Student racetracks are marked by cones, and it can be challenging to find the sweet spot where you drive as fast as possible but don’t hit any cones. This preparatory simulation training lays the foundation for the real racing we will do in the summer.
To sum up, the 2023 team has come a long way. The days previously filled with desktop work have been switched out with long days at the workshop. The excitement of putting physical parts – designed and produced by ourselves – together and seeing a racecar take form surpasses the feeling of exhaustion. With each passing day, the Unveiling inches closer. We are delighted to soon be able to showcase how dedication, passion and innovation have come together in the form of a magnificent racecar ready to fight amongst the world’s leading teams.