Automotive

Surge in autonomous vehicles at Formula Student 2020

24th February 2020
Lanna Cooper

A record number of electric and autonomous vehicles are set to do battle in this year’s Formula Student competition which will see thousands of engineering students from over 30 countries travelling to Silverstone in July to take part in the event.

The competition, which is organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, challenges the students to use their creativity and technical skills to design, build and race single seater cars.

Mirroring real world trends of vehicle electrification, this year’s line-up features 33 electric vehicle entries compared with last year’s 24, including Loughborough University, University of Portsmouth, Queen’s University Belfast and Oxford Brookes University who are entering the electric competition for the first time.

Similarly, FS-AI has more than doubled in size following its inaugural competition last year. Teams from Egypt, Australia as well as UK universities will join 2019 winners Edinburgh University in the challenge to develop the best autonomous vehicle systems.

Lucy Killington, Project Manager of Formula Student, said: “FS-AI has really taken off, with 12 teams from all over the world participating. This is a huge increase on last year’s five teams and a real testament to the UK’s competition model which offers the opportunity for budding CAV engineers to utilise the IMechE’s ADS-DV (automated driving system - dedicated vehicle) if they don’t have the resource to build their own.”

Developed with funding from the government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, the ADS-DV is unique to this competition and enables a wider variety of students studying STEM topics to participate and develop their skills.

Andrew Deakin, Chairman of Formula Student, said: “The expansion of the FS-AI competition this year is really exciting and we’re very grateful for the support of all our partners to keep this side of the competition growing. Formula Student has always been proud of the work it does to prepare students for the real world of industry and FS-AI will help us achieve that in the ever-expanding area of autonomous vehicles.”

Formula Student continues to be a key part of the Institution’s vision to develop the next generation of superstar engineers. The electric and FS AI competitions are in addition to the traditional internal combustion vehicle events. Over 130 teams are lining up on the grid this year, including first timers from Russia, Nigeria, Hong Kong and Cyprus.

“We are truly delivering on our mission to have great international appeal with education and innovation at our heart,” said Killington.

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