The Audi Autonomous Driving Cup is a software competition that awards a prize to the best fully automatically driving model vehicle and the software architecture behind it. Each team receives two model cars equipped with different sensors, various basic software modules to control the hardware, and the source code of the participants from the previous year’s competition. The best programming extensions receive a cash prize.

  • FAUtonOHM Teammitglieder 2016 (Foto: Pfitzner).
  • FAUtonOHM Teammitglieder 2016

The FAUtonOHM team consists of students from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Nuremberg Institute of Technology.

Audi Autonomous Driving Cup 2016

The five-man FAUtonOHM 2016 team won the second edition of the Audi Autonomous Driving Cup.

The task set for the teams was to extend the basic software modules received from Audi to meet a range of requirements. The software implemented consisted of several components, each of which controlled a different function. For example, the model cars needed to autonomously follow the road markings, stop in front of sudden obstacles or pass them. Intersections also had to be identified and navigated with due regard for the indicated right of way.

The algorithms developed by the FAUtonOHM team were tested on the vehicle on a test track consisting of curve, intersections, and parking spaces, which was set up especially for this purpose at the Nuremberg Campus of Technology (NCT) “Auf AEG”.

The decisive test for the teams, however, took place during a three-day event held in Ingolstadt in February 2016. The teams had access to a test track to test and optimize the developed software. At the end of the event, there was a selection round, which saw the FAUtonOHM team qualify for the last round as one of the eight best teams.

For the final in March, further tasks had to be worked on over the following weeks. The main requirements now were not only for the vehicle to perform individual manoeuvres independently of each other, but also to navigate a large course without interruption or intervention (mandatory programme). Additionally, the teams also had to prepare a scientific lecture and a free demonstration for the final. The aim of the demonstration was to give the teams the opportunity to be creative, outside of the rules and regulations, and to put their own new ideas into practice.

The FAUtonOHM team decided to use an intersection scenario involving multiple vehicles and an ambiguous right of way as a starting point. Successfully resolving a situation such as this requires communication between the participants in a real road traffic setting. In the case of autonomous cars, this can be achieved in the form of car-to-car communication. Using the existing sensor technology, a communication link was established using Morse code with the help of the dipped beam and the 2D camera. In this way, the cars were able to negotiate the right of way among themselves and resolve the situation using visible light.

The final round of the competition took place from 22-24 March at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt. The eight teams faced off against one another in the categories “mandatory programme”, “scientific lecture”, and “free demonstration” during a public event. Thanks to their good preparation for the standard driving tasks, the FAUtonOHM team succeeded in navigating the competition course, which involved more than 30 manoeuvres, almost flawlessly. The jury was also impressed by the team’s presentation of the realistic car-to-car communication.

Along with the FAUtonOHM team, those from TU Munich and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology also qualified for the final, for which the course was extended to include new, unknown tasks. New obstacles included a roundabout, a construction site, a tunnel, and a pedestrian crossing. The three remaining teams battled in the final course, which featured a range of difficulties in new scenarios.

Ultimately, the hard work paid off for FAUtonOhm, as they defeated last year’s winner from TU Munich in the overall standings (3rd place). The team from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) was pleased to finish in second place.