Third place for autonomous model car at the Carolo Cup

Ulm University

At the eleventh Carolo Cup in Braunschweig, the Ulm-based team Spatzenhirn achieved an impressive third place and took home 1,000 euros in prize money. The 18 student members and their two identical model vehicles “Spatz 8.1” and “Spatz 8.2” were only beaten by the teams KITcar from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the hosts from the Technical University of Braunschweig (Team CDLC).

This year, the Ulm team competed against ten other teams in the premier class, the Carolo Cup. The autonomous model vehicles, all built to a scale of 1:10, had to complete two different tracks, each around 100 metres long. For the first track, the most important factors were speed, optimum cornering and skilled parking. The second track ran through a suburban setting. This course included numerous challenges to be mastered, such as obstacles, traffic signs, waiting pedestrians at pedestrian crossings and steep inclines.

In order to meet these challenges, the Ulm University students from the fields of electrical engineering, communications and computer engineering, media informatics, computer science and chemical engineering performed several modifications on the “Spatz” following the last competition. The ground clearance was increased, for instance, and software functions were significantly expanded in terms of environment assessment. Despite hardware and software problems directly prior to the Cup, team leader Patrick Rausenberger is visibly satisfied with the outcome: “Taking into account that this was the first time we participated in the extended competition, and in view of the stiff competition we had, we are thrilled to have reached third place.”

The Spatzenhirn team’s supporters include the Institute of Measurement, Control and Microtechnology, headed by Professor Klaus Dietmayer, who also encouraged the team to participate in the competition. Since 2010, the Ulm-based team has been at the Carolo Cup every year and has brought home a victory four times.

Just shortly before leaving for Braunschweig, the Spatzenhirn team received the good news about another prize in early February: at Carl Zeiss AG in Aalen-Oberkochen, the students were presented with a MINT Award, which the company had presented for the first time to kick off the year as part of their “Re-Thinking Education” initiative in 2018.  With this initiative, Zeiss hopes to both get more young people enthused about natural sciences and technology and to counteract the shortage of skilled workers.

Text and media contact: Daniela Stang

The autonomous model car “Spatz 8.1” masters the track with obstacles and traffic signs. (Photo: Jonas Vogel/TU Braunschweig)
Nearly the entire Spatzenhirn team travelled to the Carolo Cup in Braunschweig. (Photo: Prof Klaus Dietmayer)
Students in the Ulm-based Spatzenhirn team received the MINT Award presented by Carl Zeiss AG. (Photo: ZEISS)