This weekend the Autonomous Systems group attended the Autonomous Racing Workshop (ARWo) in Hamburg. The Autonomous Systems group is responsible for all the software needed for the car to drive autonomously. ARWo is an annual autonomous racing workshop, hosted by our friends in the Formula Student team e-gnition Hamburg. The aim of the workshop is to bring Formula Student Driverless teams together for an informal exchange. This year, over 30 Formula Student teams came together for the workshop to share their knowledge and expertise, and to learn from each other.
The workshop includes a series of presentations and discussions focused on the design, construction, and control of autonomous racing vehicles. Teams are expected to contribute to the discussions and presentations, sharing their experiences and insights with other teams. These contributions cover topics on all things Formula Student Driverless – from discussions on what to prioritise as a first year driverless team, to building optical ground speed sensors and fusion of perception sensors.
The day started at sunrise by travelling to and arriving in Hamburg around noon. We were picked up at the airport and driven to Lasse, our host from e-gnition who kindly lends out his apartment to accommodate us while we are attending the conference. We had some time in between arriving and the start of the conference, which we spent exploring the Hamburg city centre.
The conference started with all teams arriving at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and getting to know each other. After the opening ceremony, dinner was served and the poster session began. All the teams had prepared a poster of their overall driverless concept. The poster session really enlightened the different approaches the teams have to making an autonomous racing vehicle and opened up to engaging discussions
This day was filled with talks on all things related to Formula Student Driverless. We attended discussions about grip estimation, simulation software, ROS (Robot Operating System), and management throughout the day. We also gave a talk about integrating torque vectoring with our autonomous systems. During this talk, we explained how we plan to benefit from the EV/DV merge by utilising the torque vectoring software that our Control Systems group has been developing for several years, in conjunction with our autonomous control scheme. We also held a discussion about the different software standards of the various departments within our team, such as the software standards for our pure software groups and the standards for our members in mechanical groups who make scripts for Abaqus.
On Sunday, we started the day by attending a talk about dealing with false positives in cone detection. The team presented an interesting approach to their cone detection module, where the philosophy was to detect 100 false positive cones rather than have one cone be undetected. We also attended talks on monocular camera and LiDAR calibration, as well as fusion-based perception with camera and LiDAR. Overall, it was a very interesting day with many cool talks.
After some final small talk and team photos, it was time to go home. Due to the airport strike in Germany, we had to go to Berlin to fly back home. We are very grateful to Fasttube from TU Berlin for allowing us to drive with them to Berlin and letting us stay the night before our flight the next day!
As with the previous five years, attending the workshop allowed us to gain valuable insights into our own driverless concepts, as well as other ways to create a driverless racing vehicle. We not only found inspiration for new concepts, but also made many new friends and reconnected with some old ones. We extend a big thanks to the ARWo organisational team in e-gnition for hosting this workshop and for their assistance throughout, and to the other teams for delivering interesting presentations. We look forward to seeing you again next year!