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Best practices and teamwork for student competitions

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Speedgoat and MathWorks Jointly Supporting Automotive Student Teams

Posted by Christoph Hahn,

A Unique Support Package

Speedgoat and MathWorks are offering a unique support package to select Formula Student teams.

Some Background

Automotive student racing teams are typically brilliant when it comes to modeling new ideas and advanced concepts. An area where I have seen teams performing less effective was deploying algorithms onto their microcontrollers in the racecar and testing them. I have seen brilliant ideas gradually dying before they can be succesful in a race situation. I observed various reasons of which I mention two here. #1 I saw ‘jungles’ of software tools and hardware components where nobody considered upfront how this all could work together. #2 Another example, and this may sound odd, sometimes it boiled down to a communication challenge between team members with different backgrounds, e.g. a vehicle dynamicist and someone in charge of microcontrollers.

To help and to understand those challenges a bit better, we set up a pilot project for the 2016/2017 Formula Student season with a handful of teams. We asked teams we know well about their ideas for software design and hardware selection and offered our support along the way. By doing so, we learned a great deal about workflows, their struggles and the tedious work on the details. One day, Greenteam from Stuttgart University called me with an interesting question: “We want to use a device called Speedgoat Baseline as main vehicle controls unit – what are your thoughts?”

The following story can be made short. Greenteam lead the way, Speedgoat and MathWorks helped when needed and Greenteam had their most succesful season ever, see here their user story.  Finally, the three partners kept working jointly during the 2017/2018 season to eliminate all the tiny little problems in the workflow, around various I/Os and protocols. So today, Speedgoat and MathWorks are proud to extend the offer to the entire community.

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