Tallinn University of Technology

At the demo of the new race cars of FS Team Tallinn, a self-driving formula car created a lot of excitement, getting confused by a banner advertisement while mapping the track and grabbing the traffic cones marking the track with it.

Tudengivormelitelt katted maha

However, the race was successful and both the car and traffic cones remained intact.

PHOTO GALLERY: Student formula 2022

On 16 June, an electric self-driving formula car developed by a joint team of TalTech and the TTK University of Applied Sciences held a public demo race. The team of 50 built the formula cars in nine months.

According to team captain Georg Kõivumägi, the issue with last season’s electric formula car was stability when rounding a curve. In order to solve the problem, they changed the front wing and diffuser to improve airflow in various situations on the track. A lot of work was performed on the suspension to maximise the entire tyre potential. For the driver to be able to handle a fast car, they improved the set-up and, for example, added an anti-roll bar to the front axle.

Chief engineer of the self-driving formula car Tauri Tammaru stated: “The biggest issues were the reliability of the self-driving system and the ability to round curves. In order to improve this, we implemented a more robust mapping algorithm, which, together with the new lidar algorithm, allows the car to detect traffic cones from up to 40 metres instead of the previous 15 metres.”

In addition, track mapping has been completely redesigned. The car can even manage if an error has been made during mapping. “From the second lap onwards, the car will plan the route in advance, using model-based steering,” claimed Tammaru. “Based on a mathematical model, it is possible to estimate how to take the curve as fast as possible,” added the chief engineer.

The adjustments made to the electric formula car have improved its lap times by three seconds. In curves, the electric formula car can reach lateral acceleration of up to 3 G and longitudinal acceleration of 2.5 G when braking, both of which are 0.5 G higher than before.

Utilising the new cars, the team is ready to defend their fifth place in the world ranking with Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Germany. In Estonia, the formula cars will race in Aravete at the Baltic Open from 8-11 September.

Formula Student is an international product development competition primarily aimed at engineering students, where students design and build a single-seat formula vehicle. The vehicle must undergo different tests and race on a race track. The formula cars will be judged by an international jury of high-level experts. Participating in the project gives students real-life experience in vehicle design and manufacturing, and introduces young engineers to the economic side of the car industry.

The main sponsor of the electric formula car of FS Team Tallinn is ABB and the main sponsor of the self-driving formula car is Äike.

The golden sponsors of the team are OSHINO Electronics Estonia, Harju Elekter and Milrem Robotics. The silver sponsors are Radius Machining, Skeleton Technologies, Scanweld, Finest Steel, Uddeholm, SKF, Insero OÜ, Attila and the TalTech School of Engineering.