Where is the driver?
A change in the landscape of the Formula Student was the initial spark for the driverless vehicles. The formula student proposed a concept challenge for a driverless class in 2016. A group of individuals surrounding Christian Albrecht created a concept paper for that, which directly took third place at FSG. In 2017, TUfast created the “db017”, the first driverless car, to compete in formula student driverless racing. Because neither the petrol heads nor the electrical guys wanted to cut corners that year, the db017 was built besides the regular nb and eb, so the team built three vehicles in this season.
To start off with this driverless vehicle, the team used an older electric vehicle, the eb015, as a foundation and updated it to an autonomous vehicle. This made it possible to concentrate on the driverless implementation completely. However, this still brought a lot of challenges with it, one of them also was integrating the new team with the rest of the already existing structure.
TUfast’s prime aim has always been to provide students with the opportunity to acquire practical experience and learn new skills. Especially in the last couple of years, the topic of autonomous driving is gaining importance for science, industry, and our members. Not only do we all gain experience working in a team on a project, but those of us who are involved in autonomous driving became so solely due to TUfast. The story of autonomous vehicles at TUfast went on with 3 follow-up cars after the db017, the db018, db019, and db020.This effort summited in a fully new vehicle concept: the „xb“, our current hybrid-autonomous vehicle concept.