The fourth annual Arm Student Design Challenge in South Asia, organized by the Arm University Program in partnership with Advanced Computing and Communications Society (ACCS), presented engineering students with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the design and development of a complex engineering product: an autonomous vehicle. Students used the NXP FRDM K64F microcontroller development board, based on the Arm Cortex-M4, alongside a custom-designed three-wheel vehicular prototyping kit from TVS Motors, to render the kit capable of autonomous navigation.
Launched in June with a call for proposals, the Challenge attracted thirty-six teams. In September, these teams presented at the 23rd Annual International Conference on Advanced Computing and Communications (ADCOM) 2017, at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), in Bangalore. The seventeen teams who qualified for the final were given the development board and the TVS prototyping kit, and three months to breathe life into the kit using the board. Their work would be showcased at the two-day Challenge final in March 2018, at TVS Motor Company's Institute for Quality and Leadership's private outdoor racetrack in Hosur.
Preparation for the final included developing the prototyping kit's audio-visual control unit, which meant identifying the required components and/or sensors and integrating them with corresponding actuators; developing the complete software program required to operate the kit, and testing and validating functionality for the various driving conditions they might encounter during the final. The race track was embedded with graphic code to meet various parameters, so each team's prototype vehicle would read the code and navigate as directed. Each team's performance would be evaluated based on its vehicle's ability to handle tasks such as lane, speed, steering and brake control (including obstacle detection), as well as energy utilization and optimization.
On day one of the final, March 24, the thirteen teams presented their working prototype vehicles. Their presentations included a high level development plan, how the plan rendered the vehicle capable of operation, the implementation specifics of the various control-related tasks and a video demonstration of their prototype.
Day two of the final, March 25, took place at the racetrack, so that each team could run their vehicle on the test-code-embedded track. Interestingly, most teams needed to adjust their line scan cameras to compensate for the sunlight reflecting off the code. The test runs were as exciting as they were revealing, with teams gaining confidence as their prototype vehicle masterpieces raced to the finish lines despite the strong breeze and intense sunlight.
The jury panel, the student teams, their mentors and their well-wishers were all present at the awards ceremony. Before the winners were announced, Dr. Jabez Dhinagar, Vice President, Advanced Engineering Group, TVS Motors, shared his insights on the future of navigation, and the possible shift from internal combustion engine-powered to electric motor-powered vehicles. Apurva Varma, University Program Manager, South Asia, spoke on innovation in India and the impact it could have on people's day-to-day lives.
First prize, with a cash award of 100K INR: the team from Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology, Pollachi, Tamil Nadu.
Second prize, with a cash award of 60K INR: the team from Sri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management, Nagpur, Maharashtra.
Third prize, with a cash award of 40K INR: the team from Muthoot Institute of Technology and Science, Puthencruz, Kerala.
Two additional cash awards of 20K INR each were given to individuals for their outstanding performances: Cheenkesh Arora, Sri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Koushik Varma, SA College of Engineering.
Warm congratulations to all the participants of the Arm Student Design Challenge 2017 - 2018, and to the winners for their enthusiasm, creativity and hard work.
What sets the Arm Student Design Challenge apart from its peers is its focus on industry-academia collaborations, unleashing students’ potential and preparing students today for their role in tomorrow's industry. Students contribute enthusiasm, their faculty mentors bring knowledge, and industry lends direction and experience with technological advances. The Arm Student Design Challenge provides students with a hands-on opportunity to solve problems through technological advances, and to use the knowledge they have gained at universities, making them not only innovative and industry-aware, but also ready for the rigors of the global workplace.
Helping academia get industry ready through enabling innovation
Academics interested in teaching on the topic of autonomous vehicles can request a donation of the Mechatronics and Robotics Education Kit. The Arm University Program offers free Education Kits to qualified academics, covering core engineering topics such as Embedded Systems Design, Digital Signal Processing, Real Time Operating Systems, System-on-Chip Design, and Internet of Things.
Request an Arm University Program Education Kit