On Memorial Day, just before the legendary Indy 500 race took place, a new speedway star stepped out to shine. A driverless race car, nothing less, aiming for track speeds of over 120 mph without any human hands on the wheel. The Dallara Lite was fitted with sensors and a drive-by-wire system, an identical car for each of the Indy Autonomous Challenge teams. The world’s most advanced autonomous racing car will take part in the historic Indianapolis Motor Circuit October 23.
Hexagon’s Autonomy & Positioning division, in the form of NovAtel and AutonomouStuff, in addition to donating GNSS receivers for all cars, acted as subject matter expert for the University’s Deep Orange team. of Clemson, made up of graduate students and highly qualified faculty. Clemson is not competing in the race, but the Deep Orange team has assembled the “over-specified” sensor kit for the Dallara prototype reference vehicle. AutonomouStuff now replicates the process for 20 identical models.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” says Chris Paredis, professor and BMW Endowed SmartState Chair in Systems Integration at Clemson University, and program director at Deep Orange. The latter is a prototype vehicle master’s program offered annually by the International Automotive Research Center at Clemson University.
“We have 2 GNSS units, two Pwrpak7-E1s with a full multi-frequency, multi-constellation satellite setup.” The PwrPak7-E1 contains an Epson G320 MEMS IMU to provide NovAtel SPAN technology, a tightly coupled inertial GNSS + engine in an integrated single box solution. It features a powerful OEM7 GNSS engine, built-in MEMS IMU, built-in Wi-Fi, built-in NTRIP client and server support, and 16GB of internal storage. The PwrPak7-E1 also has enhanced connection options including serial, USB, CAN and Ethernet.
Each vehicle carries a primary compute node provided by sponsor ADLink, an Intel Z processor with a high-end RTX unit, and a general-purpose AGPU unit. Teams will use it for perception pipelines and to shape their highline behavioral planner. This computer is connected to a high speed switch to which all peripherals are connected. It has a capacity of 40 gigabits per system for 6 cameras, 3 LiDARs and 2 GNSS. Each Dallara will also carry 4 radars, but they are directly connected to the computer, because their interface is based on CAN rather than on Ethernet.
For communication purposes, passing through this same switch, a V2X wireless communication system from Fluidmesh communicates with latency-free handovers between base stations at the racetrack at high speed. Cisco Systems will set up the wireless base stations on the track for the final race in October; number to be determined, with very directional antennas.
See previous race coverage here (December 2020) and here (January 2021). Stay tuned Inside autonomous vehicles for more information on IAC as it develops – the fastest car on the track wins $ 1 million for its team!