HKUST Becomes the First Hong Kong Team to Receive a First Class Award in NXP Cup Intelligent Car Racing Competition
Two students from the 4-member First Class Award-winning team prepare their smart car in the competition. [Download Photo]
The Smart Car Team of the HKUST Robotics Team brought forth another year of laurels in the 13th NXP Cup Intelligent Car Racing Competition (South China Region) held in Hubei Engineering University in Xiaogan, Hubei province, from July 26-29, 2018. The team received four awards, including one First Class Award in the Quad-Wheel Photoelectric Category, the first such award by a Hong Kong team in this competition since it was first organized in 2006, one Second Class Award in the Dual-Wheel Vertical Category, and two Third Class Awards in Dual-Car Crossover Category and Beacon Duelling Category respectively. Over 500 teams participated across six categories in the contest.
A relatively young team that joined the competition since 2011, the HKUST Smart Car Team made a breakthrough in its performance this year by winning a First Class Award. Such accomplishment, coupled with its good track record, has established the team as one of the high-achieving teams in the competition.
The team is composed of 19 new members and 5 senior members, who hail from various disciplines from the School of Engineering, School of Science and Interdisciplinary Programs Office. The 24 students are formed into a few sub-teams to take part in all six categories and received awards in four of them. Each student brought unique experience and expertise to the team and helped the team grow as a whole. The students are supervised by Prof. Tim WOO, Director of the Center for Global & Community Engagement.
The main mission in most categories in the competition is that the smart cars have to navigate an unknown track which is interspersed with features to detect and tasks to tackle. In the Quad-Wheel Photoelectric Category, the cars employ images collected from a camera sensor that is attached to the cars to analyse features on the track (such as corners, obstacles, crossroads and loops), plan the path and control the speed. In the Dual-Wheel Vertical Category and Dual-Car Crossover Category, the cars steer by making use of the magnetic sensor data from a signal wire that runs underneath the track. In the Beacon Duelling Category, the cars do not follow a track but need to detect infrared light emitting beacons placed across the field and ensure rigorous path planning for quick completion of tasks.
Preparation for the competition started in full vigour at the beginning of the Spring semester. Students spent hours working on PCB boards, optimizing mechanics, printing 3D components, brainstorming algorithms and devising effective solutions to edge them towards winning the competition. The transformation that the new members underwent from their inception into the team and their subsequent training by the senior members to the expertise they had garnered during the competition is truly commendable. And throughout this experience of numerous trial and errors lied the core essence to learn and grow, and the burning desire to excel speeds in their cars.