Autonomous model vehicle challenge winners

08 April 2016

Students from the the University of Sheffield won the UK Final of the NXP Cup Challenge 2016


Students from the team “LineRider”, from the University of Sheffield won the UK Final of the NXP Cup Challenge 2016, hosted this year by the Imperial College in London, after a fierce competition that brought together five teams from UK universities and one from Greece. The top three teams go on to the European NXP Cup final in Munich, May 9-10.

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 science, technology, engineering and math (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 course without going off the track wins the race. Cars are powered by a 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.

For the final, each car had to run at high speed around the track. 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.

The team “LineRider”, from the University of Sheffield, won the competition, finishing just ahead of team “0X2A” from Technological Educational Institute of Piraeus, Greece, and team “Hotrod”, also from the University of Sheffield.

Students have been working for the past 6 months to assemble, program 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 and to quickly accelerate and brake within a given distance. 

The NXP Cup Challenge is reflecting 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 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. 

The NXP Cup 2016 European Final

The Grand European NXP Cup Final will take place on May 9 & 10 at NXP’s office in Munich, Germany. It will bring together the teams that have qualified across Europe. 18 teams from 11 countries will compete to win the European Challenge.

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