Formula Student is the largest competition for technical students in the world. The competition is held every year around the world. Founded in 1981 in the USA under the auspices of the Society of Automotive Engineers (UAE), the first competition in Europe took place in 1998. Today, there are dozens of races around the world, on all continents except Africa and Antarctica.
Currently, over 800 university teams from around the world compete with self-built race cars. The winner of the competition may not only have the fastest car, but it depends on the whole mix of construction, performance, budget planning and marketing plan development. From 2010, purely electric cars can also take part in the competition. This year also marks the founding of eForce, as the first team with an electric monopost in the Czech Republic. At present, on electric circuits, electric monoposts usually beat the combustion ones in terms of performance and driving characteristics. Another milestone was the establishment of the Formula Student Driverless competition, ie autonomous car races in 2016. The eForce team again decided to be the first in the country to participate in this category and began developing the first autonomous formula in the Czech Republic in 2019.
The Formula Student competition consists of so-called static and dynamic disciplines. In static disciplines, teams present vehicles and their development to experts from Formula 1, or from leading companies in the automotive industry, or technology giants. In the past, eForce has defended its proposals before representatives of Scuderia Ferrari, Lamborgini, FCA, SIEMENS, ZF, Continental, or Google. Dynamic disciplines then focus on driving the formula and have the task of checking the driving characteristics of the formula. In total, 1000 points are traditionally distributed in races, but individual disciplines can be honored in individual races differently.
The following disciplines are:
- ENGINEERING DESIGN Assessment of technical aspects, design and key features of the vehicle.
- COST REPORT Financial planning of the entire vehicle including (serial) production.
- BUSINESS PLAN Presentation aimed at convincing a potential investor of the usefulness of a fictitious business model involving a student formula
- ACCELERATION Acceleration on 75m from stopped start.
- SKID PAD A heavily eight-track spiral track has the task of checking the lateral acceleration of the vehicle.
- AUTOCROSS Qualification for the main race "Endurance", the vehicle with the best time on the bike wins.
- ENDURANCE & EFFICIENCY Endurance race at 22 km with driver replacement halfway. The effectiveness of the vehicle is to assess the amount of energy consumed over total time.
- TRACKDRIVE A discipline unique to Driverless, the car's task is to cover 10 laps as fast as possible on a completely unknown track in advance.
Before the formula can participate in dynamic disciplines, it is necessary to pass the inspections, which is a technical inspection that checks the safety of the car and its compliance with the rules of the competition. As can be seen from the graph, about two thirds of the points in the races are allocated to these dynamic disciplines, and the remaining third is reserved for static disciplines, where the team presents its theoretical knowledge and defends the technical design of the car.
In contrast to the electrical category, the driverless competition is more focused on static disciplines, especially as regards the design of autonomous vehicle systems.
German plants plan to merge the categories in the future and demand autonomous functionality after all monoposts, as seen below. Only time will tell if other competitions will take a similar approach.