Students from Haute Ecole ARC Ingénierie, Switzerland won the Grand Final of the NXP Cup EMEA Challenge 2016. They prevailed and won the race after a fierce competition that brought together the winners from regional rounds around Europe. The 16 teams were from universities and high schools in Germany, Switzerland, UK, France, Italy, Greece, Romania, Poland, Ukraine as well as Morocco.
The NXP Cup, presented by NXP Semiconductors, is part of the company’s work to build a Smarter Society, a global initiative focused on the support of STEM education, startups and incubators. The Challenge, which has been in existence for the past 14 years, has been targeting college students all across the globe. It presents them with an opportunity to experience and learn major concepts of mechanical, electrical and computing engineering technologies in a fun and competitive environment.
Student teams are challenged to build, program and race an intelligent model car around a track. The car is autonomous and must stay on the racetrack at all times. The 180 sq/m racetrack consisted of speed bumps, intersections, hills and chicane curves. The fastest car to complete the race without going off the track wins the race. Cars are powered by an NXP 32-bit processor or microcontroller technology, which are state-of-the-art products widely used in the industry. The cars share the same chassis basis and use similar batteries.
51 students, mentored by their faculty advisors, raced their cars on the 2016 NXP Cup track in Munich. For the second year, students raced their cars on a new track, where the blacklines are on the outside of the racetrack and no longer just a single line in the center, giving students an additional challenge in making sure their cars remain between the lines of the track.
For the final event, each car had to run at high speed on an undisclosed track layout. Each team had a maximum of three attempts to record a lap time during which, the first successful lap run qualified as the recorded time.
Team ARCAR1, from Haute Ecole ARC ingénierie, Switzerland, the winning team, finishing just ahead of team FasTech, from University of Craiova, Romania, and team EBB, from University of Applied Sciences, Duesseldorf, Germany.
Students have been working for the past six months to assemble, programme and test their vehicles. They had six and a half hours to test and fine-tune their vehicles before the decisive race. During the training period, students had to prepare their car’s ability to avoid exiting the racetrack, quickly accelerate and brake within a given distance.
The NXP Cup Challenge reflects the latest evolutions in the automotive industry, where advanced driver assistance systems are now heavily relying on processors and sensors technologies. For example, students had the ability to use up to 16 sensors, such as cameras, accelerometers and gyroscopes to make sure their car stays on the track.
“The NXP Cup continues to attract the attention of students and professors across the EMEA region. Its legacy and track record over the last five seasons shows that access to technology for high school and university students is critical for the success of future generations of engineers and innovation leaders,” said Steve Wainwright, vice president sales and marketing EMEA, NXP. “The contribution of the program to our customers and partners is an extension of our support and focus in making the world smarter, safer and better connected.”
”A great experience with the NXP Cup was to put in practice the theory. During the process of building the car and the competition we learnt a lot, not only technical aspects, but also how to approach problems and to solve them. We thank NXP for the effort provided”, Sebastien Glauser, Thibeau Surmont, students from Haute Ecole ARC Ingénierie
“4 years ago we started with a basic set-up and participated just to test it. After the first competition we decided to include the NXP Cup into the curriculum and to start every year. It is great to see how the level of the competition did grow. We will be back next year.” Prof.Yves Meyer, Professor in Digital Electronics.
The creation of this intelligent car requires students to demonstrate skills in the area of embedded software programming and basic circuit creation, as well as interfacing with a camera to navigate the car through the race course. In addition, students can use the default hardware or create their own motor control hardware and software to propel and steer their intelligent car. In addition to participating in the competition, students also got the opportunity to share their work and network with their peers, faculty, NXP engineers, industry partners and customers.
Through innovative programmes like the NXP Cup, the company’s Smarter Society initiative continues to explore how technology and education impact our larger world and communities. NXP is truly proud to support the next gen of innovators and scientists, who will ultimately help build the infrastructure for secure, smart transportation, secure, connected solutions, smart cities, smart stadiums and so much more.