First edition of the SEAT autonomous driving challenge
After six months of hard work, AMUVAG, a team from the University of Valladolid, has won the first edition of the SEAT Autonomous Driving Challenge. The winners of joint second place were the URBots team from the University Rovira i Virgili, and the Autopia team from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
The competition, the first of its kind on a national level, was promoted by CARNET and sought to bring together talented students in robotics and artificial intelligence. It provided the opportunity to participate in the development of new technologies and algorithms for autonomous vehicles.
Universities from all over Spain were invited to participate in the challenge, which consisted of creating the necessary software architectures to make a 1:10 scaled car (equipped with specific hardware) that could move around an urban area, with features such as object detection and avoidance, correct reading of traffic lights and performing parking manoeuvres.
More than 50 students from 7 Spanish universities, divided into multi-disciplinary groups with guidance and orientation from renowned international experts, worked for six months to create software that enables scale model vehicles to navigate themselves around a closed circuit based on an urban environment.
Early in June, students attended a workshop given by an expert team from TU Berlin, including Raúl Rojas, a leading European researcher and lecturer in autonomous driving technologies, and Alberto Sanfeliu, the Scientific Director of the “Maria de Maeztu Unit of Excellence” of the IRI (UPC-CSIC). At this event, students received their scaled car so they could practice before the competition.
The grand finale, at the Smart City Expo
The projects were tried out in the final challenge, organised during the Smart City Expo World Congress 2017, where after a first day of tests and calibrations, a two-day competition was held to assess the students’ skills. CARNET created a closed driving circuit based on an urban environment and inspired by the city of Barcelona. The competing vehicles from each university had to pass the challenging tasks that were set, such as recognize the layout of the circuit; stay within lane markings; navigate around corners, straight lines and intersections; detect obstacles; and park themselves. A panel made up of SEAT representatives, UPC experts in robotics, prominent figures in the industry and professionals was responsible for choosing the best three projects.
The event closed with an awards ceremony, with a closing speech by the head of SEAT HR, Ismael Lara, who congratulated the talented young students on their accomplishments, as well as Alexander Siebeneich, CARNET Industrial Director, who was responsible for the competition.
If you are interested, you can watch a video about the event here: