The SZEnergy Team at Széchenyi István University (SZE), a student racing team engaged in the development and construction of electric vehicles under the mentorship of the Vehicle Industry Research Centre (VIRC), is a regular participant in one of the world’s largest student competitions, the Shell Eco-marathon, where it came 4th in this year’s World Autonomous Programming Competition (APC). The competition was held online, during which the students from Győr competed against 25 of the world’s top college and university teams every day for almost a month. The SZEnergy Team managed to beat famous participants from European, Asian and American institutions, such as the team of University of California, Berkeley.
In his personal congratulations, Prof. József Bokor, President of VIRC and member of the Board of Trustees of the Széchenyi István University Foundation, highlighted that the competition included professional components that can be called the focal points of today’s autonomous vehicle research: automatic route tracking, dynamic obstacle avoidance and energy optimisation. These pose a serious challenge to professional researchers and engineers, let alone to the students, who solved the complex tasks with high-quality solutions. The professor also pointed out that students of SZE should take advantage of the opportunities provided by the institution, as being part of the team, solving innovative tasks and competing at international level will also be a huge advantage in the labour market.
An important aspect of the autonomous programming competition is that students solve industry-relevant challenges using cutting-edge technologies. This time, the challenge was to find 15 pre-placed targets preferably in the shortest possible time and distance using a virtual vehicle in an urban simulation environment while minimising the vehicle’s energy consumption. They also had to make sure that they obeyed all traffic rules during the race.
Mátyás Mesics, a developer at the autonomous department of the SZEnergy Team and a graduate computer engineering student at SZE, said that they are happy with the success, but they are already focusing on the next task, as another international competition will follow in July. The competition in France, which will involve teams of students from Europe and Africa, will no longer be an online event, but a face-to-face one. They will compete in their real vehicle and will have to prepare for challenges such as autonomous route tracking, autonomous parking and obstacle avoidance.
Read more on the official website of VIRC.