The merger of the eb and the db
In 2020, Formula Student Germany announced a change of the rules for the upcoming years. To have an actual chance of winning , the racecars need to be able to drive not only manually with a driver, but also to drive completely autonomously. To be prepared for this change of regulations, we adjusted our electronics system of the car and integrated a driverless system in it. Therefore, we adapted to a new concept of a “hybrid-autonomous” car, which was the start of our xb-series. This car is built from scratch as an autonomous race car that is able to drive in both categories, Formula Student Electric and Formula Student Driverless. This is done by taking our electric vehicle platform and combining it with our experiences and knowledge gained from the db to develop the concept of the “xb”. Naturally, that brought a major challenge with it, as the autonomous system had to be integrated into a vehicle concept that is optimized to perform perfectly with a driver. But, as is always the case in engineering, nothing comes for free…
Consequently, the integration of the Autonomous Software components involves many trade offs such as packaging the components much more compact and making sure that they are as light as possible, in order to fit into one of the most important overall concepts of our race cars: lightweight. Another major complexity that comes with this is splitting the little testing time that is available after the car is running. Here the team has to find the optimal setting for the driver, but at the same time has to get the autonomous software running.