"Formula Student" is the world's biggest competition for engineers. Every year competitions are held all across the globe. Founded by the "Society of Automotive Engineers" in 1981, the first competition in Europe took place in 1998. At present there are more than 600 teams from universities all over the world competing with their self-constructed race cars. The winner is not necessarily the team with the fastest car, but the one with the best package regarding construction, performance, financial planning and sales arguments.
After creating the electric class in 2010, the competition follows up another time with actual technical trends and created the new driverless class, which was raced for the first time in 2017. The goal is for the students to build autonomous cars which are capable to complete different disciplines without a driver.
A Formula Student competition consists of so-called static and dynamic disciplines. In the static events the engineers have to present their car and their development process to well-known judges from the economy, the automotive industry and prestigious racing series like Formula One. Disciplines being judged are:
- ENGINEERING DESIGN Judgement of the autonomous driving software stack and the vehicle platform
- COST Financial planning of the whole car, including manufacturing.
- BUSINESS PLAN Presentation in order to convince a potential investor of a profitable business idea using the self-developed race car.
The dynamic events reveal the driving performance of the prototypes. Every discipline puts different abilities of the cars to the test:
- ACCELERATION An acceleration race over 75 m distance with a standing start.
- SKID PAD Autonomous driving on a track shaped like an eight to test the lateral acceleration of the car.
- AUTOCROSS Autonomous racing on an unknown track. The car has to map and localize on the fly.
- TRACK DRIVE & EFFICIENCY An autonomous race over 10 laps on a circuit with straights, tight and high speed corners. The Efficiency scoring rates the consumed amount of energy in relation to the total time.
On the official website you can find detailed information about the competition: