TU Wien Informatics

20 Years

4th Place at the 15th F1TENTH Autonomous Grand Prix

  • By Andreas Brandstätter / Sophie Wiesinger (edt.)
  • 2024-05-22
  • Students

Scuderia Segfault secures a top-five placement yet again!

fLtR Mihai-Teodor Stanusoiu, Prof. Radu Grosu, Mihaela-Larisa Clement, Felix Resch, Monika Farsang, Moritz Christamentl, Elisa Di Cristo, Philipp Gratzer, Luigi Berducci, Andreas Brandstätter*
fLtR Mihai-Teodor Stanusoiu, Prof. Radu Grosu, Mihaela-Larisa Clement, Felix Resch, Monika Farsang, Moritz Christamentl, Elisa Di Cristo, Philipp Gratzer, Luigi Berducci, Andreas Brandstätter*
Picture: Marcell Balogh/Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Scuderia Segfault secured a top placement yet again at the 15th F1TENTH Autonomous Grand Prix!

For those of you who haven’t been following Scuderia Segfault’s past successes: The F1TENTH Grand Prix is an international racing competition in which 1:10 scale race cars are fitted with sensors and a computer so they can drive autonomously on a racetrack. The goal? Don’t crash and minimize laptime! This year’s race was held from May 13th to 17th as part of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2024) in Yokohama, Japan, and was fought out between over 20 teams from universities and research institutes worldwide. In the final head-to-head race competition, the team scored 4th place, making this their forth top-five placement in a row.

Countless hours were invested to prepare for the Grand Prix by the Scuderia Segfault team, which is supervised by Andreas Brandstätter and Rado Grosu, Head of the Research Unit Cyber-Physical Sytstems. First, an optimized hardware setup was needed, with carefully adjusted suspension, the right tires for optimal grip on the racetrack, and visual chassis indicators. The computing platform for this year’s competition was upgraded with a new powerful CPU and much more memory to run complex algorithms more efficiently. Most importantly, the team needed to implement software for fast localization on the racetrack, find the optimal race line, and precisely control the car. The team also spent weekends and evening hours to test the car and prepare for the big race.

Arrival, Trials and Tribulations

After a long journey to Japan, the team arrived early in the morning at the venue to start setting up. Having travelled halfway around the world, the model car needed to be re-assembled and the floor conditions in the competition hall carefully evaluated for proper tire selection. The team created a map of the racetrack so that the car could localize itself and determine its position. To figure out the best way to get around the racetrack, Scuderia Segfault developed a custom-made optimization tool to define the best speed and curve parameters.

The first challenge at the racetrack was to demonstrate obstacle avoidance capabilities. Unfortunately, there were severe problems with one of the software components, which could have led to a complete disqualification from the race, and so urgent modifications were needed to identify the cause of this problem and address it before the start of the time-trial races. The team mobilized all its problem-solving capabilities and worked in separate teams to modify the software, and this ultimately paid off: The check was passed successfully. Following the testing of object avoidence capabilities were the time-trials, in which the model cars drive laps as fast as possible while also demonstrating their reliability. What counts in this competetion is not only the best lap-time, but also the most number of consecutive laps without crashing. Team Scuderia Segfault attained good results (5th place overall) in speed as well as demonstrating object avoidence and reliability, but compared to past competitions, it became clear that the other teams had also greatly improved as the fastest five teams were only seperated by less than a second.

Full speed ahead at the decisive race

To prepare for the decisive head-to-head race, the team conducted further tests on the track, but alas, another team caused a crash which lead to the damage of the chassis mount! This required a full overnight repair, as several parts needed to be repaired or replaced. To get a complete post-crash checkup, the team even tested the car in the underground parking lot of the hotel to get the car up and runnign again. Even after all the repairs had been made, the team was still not able to catch a break though: Having seen the lap-times of other teams, it became clear that the race software and parameters still needed further tuning to stand a chance in the race.

After all this troubleshooting (and very little sleep), the first race to qualify for finals was held against Team Technion from the Israel Institute of Technology. This was a clear win for Scuderia Segfault, as Technion’s car was not fast enough. However, it was just as important not to crash during overtake-maneuvers, so all the parameters and the setup needed careful adjustments for this race as well. Next up was the race against VAUL Renegade from the Université Laval in Québec - an extremely strong and fast team. It was clear to Team Scuderia Segfault that this opponent called for an all-in strategy: The lap-time needed to be reduced by more than one second. The race was intense, with Team Scuderia Segfault winning and advancing to the semi-final. The next opponent was Dzik Team of the Polish Academy of Sciences, which won only by a hair’s breadth. The small final against ForzaETH from ETH Zürich ultimately resulted in 4th place for Team Scuderia Segfault.

Scuderia Segfault’s participation in this race would not have been possible without the great support of Liquid AI, HTU and Magna International. The team is also very grateful for the generous support from TTTech Auto.

*List of all team members: Mihai-Teodor Stanusoiu, Prof. Radu Grosu, Mihaela-Larisa Clement, Felix Resch, Monika Farsang, Moritz Christamentl, Elisa Di Cristo, Philipp Gratzer, Luigi Berducci, Andreas Brandstätter, Agnes Poks and Philipp Mandl.

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