AK: Tallinn students unveil new, driverless race-car

Tallinn students' new driver-less electric race-car.
Tallinn students' new driver-less electric race-car. Source: Epp Joala

Tallinn students have been putting the finishing touches to a self-driving open-wheel race car, due to compete against other universities soon, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Monday night.

Students from Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) and TTK University of Applied Science have been jointly working on the project, the latest in a long line of similar endeavors Estonian students have been involved in for around 15 years now.

Several different internal combustion engine variants produced in the past are now joined by electric and, most recently, driver-less categories.

e-racing is the main focus now, FS Team Tallinn leader Georg Kõivumägi told AK.

"The cars are powered by electricity, while there has also been development in the engine field. Four-wheel drive is currently in place instead of the previous rear-wheel drive approach. The aerodynamics package has changed, and the cars have a carbon monocoque, while the control systems have also changed," Kõivumägi said, outlining how the field has evolved.

The latest model, while it can be human-driven too, is a self-driving model. Monday's trial saw the first and second attempts hit glitches, while the third run went perfectly, AK reported (see gallery below).

FS Team Tallinn designer Artur Meier said: "There was probably a coding error, and it wasn't easy to drive. It will definitely work out, however, since trials are needed in any case before a competition, and these trials are designed to eliminate glitches, find errors and improve the formula in general."


The team will be in action in competition with other European student teams as early as Wednesday, AK reported.

While self-driving race series are on the horizon, this will only happen once the tech can match a human driver's skills – the FS Team Tallinn trials involving a driver went well from the start.

While in driver-less mode, an operator can override the car remotely and operate its brakes, should it do anything wayward, AK noted.

In terms of practical student benefits, those working on the project get to learn the basis of 3D printer use as well as many other tech aspects.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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