VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge

Empowering young engineers

The task of the VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge is to built or to modify a model car of scale 1:8 to handle self-driving scenarios that are based on problems in real life as well as on racing events. In this challenge, model cars will autonomously run through a race track that features a pit stop allowing traffic-anlogue maneuvres like parking or taking higway exits.

While this race format provides a brand-new challenge in the field of autonomous-driving competitions, the racing spirit will promote new and innovative solutions. How much can an algoritm push the boundaries of the model car driving through a curve in terms of speed and hitting the optimal apex?

We are encouraging students to participate in the contest taking place on October 9th. To compete in the challenge, the cars will have to master:

  • Driving autonomously through a racetrack
  • Completing a variety of parking tasks
  • Communicating with other participants (Connected Driving)
Ready for the next VDI Autonomous Driving Challenges?
+++ 9th October 2020 in Memmingen +++ 12th March 2021 in Munich +++ stay tuned!

The concept of the competition

At the interface between real motorsport, robotics and automation, the VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge gives young engineers the opportunity to acquire scientific and technical skills in a competitive environment, to exchange professional knowledge and to gain new experience - and all this with a lot of team spirit and without any risk for occupants or spectators. Evaluated by an independent jury of experts from science and industry, they also strengthen their self-confidence in their individual creative power. 

Automation and electrification of vehicles represent a profound change in social life. For our society and the progress of sustainable technology, it is therefore fundamental to introduce young people to key topics such as these as early as possible, in order to give them the space to approach the technological challenges of the future in a playful way.  

The VDI Association of German Engineers has set itself ambitious goals with the Autonomous Driving Challenge. It creates a platform for young people and students, through which social and professional skills can develop and technology is promoted. At the same time, students are given the opportunity to exchange ideas with like-minded people in an international environment and to make initial contacts with associated companies.  

About the Challenge

Eligible for participation are teams of enrolled students of two to ten members. We encourage you to participate from whatever faculty or country your team is from. Besides to  the costs of components and a security deposit of 100 €  for the event (that will be refunded after participation) the competition is free of charge. We don‘t necessary require having a supervising professor, but we encourage getting support from your respective institution.

Division into two classes

The challenge is divided in two main cups. While the idea of the VDI Supercup is providing a nearly unconstrained environment for development, the concept of the VDI Cup is to compare mainly the programming while using a predefined platform that is equal for every team. Ready to use car kits are available for the Cup and Supercup, please contact us. Refer to the rules for more details.

 

VDI Supercup

VDI Cup

  • Most components can be freely selected
  • Constrains apply on size and appearance
  • Programming, laptime and hardware choices contribute to score
  • Hardware platform is predefined
  • Programming makes the difference
  • Only programming and results contribute to the score

What exactly are the tasks?

Static Challenges

The teams will have the opportunity to demonstrate concepts and ideas used in the model car to the jury. The concept will be judged in three categories:

  • Software concept
  • Component choice and hardware concept (VDI Supercup-specific)
  • Design and sensor integration

Dynamic Challenges

  • Racing – All disciplines are inspired by the thrill of real-life motorsport. We believe that motorsport can push new develpoments, as the competition between the teams poses an incentive to improve. In lap record, teams will have try to reach the fastest lap time while having a limited time on the race track. In time trial the car that manges to perform the most laps in a limited amount of time will win. In individual pursuit, two cars on opposing sides of a small symetric track will try to reach each other.
  • Parking – The task lies in finding a parking space, performing the parking maneuver as well as exiting while checking for colliding traffic. The task is performed on the pitlane of the racetrack.
  • Connected Drive – All disciplines will be initiated by a wi-fi signal from the race management

Last Event

On 13 March 2020 the first edition of the newly created student competition 'VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge' took place. A team from the University of Applied Sciences Munich and one from the University of Applied Sciences Kempten took up the challenge of participating. 
The circuit artfully meanders through the sun-drenched foyer of the Munich University of Applied Sciences. The race track at the venue is very close to reality with its hairpin bends, chicanes and acceleration straights.

About the competition day

First of all, the teams have to face the top-class jury with the presentation of the vehicle concept (technical implementation, choice and installation of the components, justification of the choice of the software codes and algorithms).
Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Markus Krug (HS Munich), the judges are Dr. Eric Wahl (Porsche), Dr. Daniel Kürschner (AVL S&F), Dominik Reif (Schäffler), Prof. Dr. habil. Alfred Schöttl (HS Munich) and Markus Frey, Managing Director of the main sponsor, Zielpuls GmbH from Munich, will evaluate the concepts presented.

In the afternoon, the dynamic tasks will begin with autonomous parking in and out. Remarkable here is the fast and error-free reaction of the vehicles as soon as other road users appear.
The acceleration race, in which the reaction time and maximum performance on the 10-meter long straight test track is crucial, is won by the team from Kempten with a fantastic time of 1.5 seconds.
The audience highlight is then the race against time, where the fastest line choice and best traction are the deciding factors. Also on the race track the team "Adrive Living Lab" from Kempten can convince, after SAM unfortunately retired with a technical defect. Under great applause, Bonifaz Stuhr, Felix Treuer, Holger Link, Johann Haselberger and Dominik Schneider win the VDI ADC winner's trophy and a one-year VDI membership.

 

Impressions of the first VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge

Do you have what it takes?

Are you interested in being a part of the competition? Submit your application now!

To participate, please add to your application:

  • The name of your university
  • The name of your team
  • The names of the participants and supervisors
  • A picture of your team
  • Which competition class is chosen

Rules and evaluation

The evaluation of most dynamic disciplines is based on objective criteria like lap times. In disciplines like parking the jury uses subjective measures like the aesthetic of the maneuver as well.

Refer to the regulations for further details on performance evaluation. There, you will find everything you need to know about the rules, the disciplines technical details of the track. The regulations are subject to change, as further questions from teams arise.


Get in touch

Coordination and Planning

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Felix Seufert (left) or Gioele Micheli. Both are actively supporting all organizational matters concearning the VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge.They also provide the technical input for the website and the regulations in accordance with the scientific team management  around Prof. Dr. Peter Pfeffer, Chairman of the VDI District Munich Association of Munich, Upper and Lower Bavaria and Prof. Markus Krug, HS Munich.

You would like tot get in touch? Just drop a mail to vdi-adc@vdi-sued.de

Get connected

"We are Felix and Gioele, and are studying automotive engineering in the seventh semester at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich and support the VDI District Association of Munich in organizing this year's university competition for self-driving cars, the VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge. In the previous semester, we worked on the topic "Development of an autonomously driving RC car" with Prof. Markus Krug as part of a university project, since autonomous driving has always been interesting us. The client of the university project, in which we developed the basics of the competition and the first prototype for the VDI ADC, was the VDI, which initiated the VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge.

From the very beginning it was important to us that the competition is not only a challenge for the teams, but also attractive for the spectators. In addition, it should be relevant to real-life road traffic, which is why the Challenge includes disciplines such as time trials and acceleration races.

In addition to the analogies to everyday traffic, we attached great importance to excitement and dynamics when planning the competition. We do not want the cars to drive a circuit slowly - it was important to us that the teams have a real incentive to perform. The teams are therefore compared and evaluated accordingly, for example regarding the trajectory of their maneuvers or their reaction time after the start signal. In addition, the vehicles should not only move from A to B, but also drive around the circuit with a certain elegance, safety and above all a lot of speed. Contents from the racing sport are therefore also included in the competition.

This is the scope of this year's AD Challenge, next time the focus will be on Connected Drive. This year, we will first find out what is currently possible and to what extent our wishes regarding the regulations and track layouts can be implemented. From this we can then draw conclusions for the design of future competitions, for example to adjust the radii and widths of the corners and thus make races against each other possible.

The whole environment of the Challenge - from planning to new contacts and methods - is incredibly interesting and we are happy to be part of it. We wish the teams continued fun and success in the competition!"

Gioele Micheli & Felix Seufert

Editing and Reporting

You want to stay up to date with the VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge?

VDI editor Sarah Stingl is there for you and is reporting about everything concerning the Challenge.

Stay tuned.

 


About VDI - The Association of German Engineers

VDI - The Association of German Engineers, is a German technical and scientific association. With 145,000 engineers as members, the VDI is the largest technical and scientific association in Europe.

The VDI District Association of Munich, Upper and Lower Bavaria

The VDI District Association of Munich, Upper and Lower Bavaria (short: VDI Munich) with its over 11,500 members the link to the VDI members at local level. 

With more than 300 events on current technical topics each year the VDI district association Munich offers the local platform for engineers to exchange expert knowledge and experience in personal contact. There are 20 VDI working groups on different topics, as well as five VDI district groups in Upper and Lower Bavaria and three VDI divisions in Austria.

The commitment of the VDI district association with its more than 100 volunteers reflects the entire range of engineering know-how. The district association is also VDI Circle of Friends Italy.

The management and orientation of the VDI District Association is in the hands of the board of directors, which is supported significantly in its implementation by the advisory board of volunteers as well as the office team. In the annual general meetings, the work done and planned is monitored and generally approved.

Here you can find out more about VDI district association of Munich, Upper and Lower Bavaria


Sponsoring of the VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge

Would like to join the VDI ADC as a sponsor?

Find out more here!

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Get in touch

You are intrigued, would like to participate, or simply want to find out more?

Feel free to contact us!

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