Building a Full-Sized Self-Driving Car in 5 days (Part 1)

This week (22 May) I have come to GuiYang in China for the Moving Hackathon 2019 Self-Driving Global Challenge and the experience is amazing.

The challenge happens in a factory inside the Technology and science industrial park.

All race and hacking happens here
The world’s first self-driving engineer training base
A team working on the car on day 2

There are two groups of challenge

  • Full-sized Self-driving Car
  • DIY Robocars Donkey Car

Obviously I am coming to join the Donkey car challenge and I even brought my new shiny Jetson Nano on Donkey Car to join the race. Despite the Donkey Car challenge starts on 25 May, I decided to come earlier to check out the full sized car challenge. It turns out to be really interesting.

The Car

Each team is given a full-sized car equipped with an onboard computer, a box developed by PIX Moving that connect the onboard computer to the car computer, a Velodyne LiDAR and a camera.

A Honda equipped with onboard computer, cameras and lidar
Camera behind the windshield
Battery, UPS and onboard computer

The Challenge

These are 7 missions for the full size car challenge:

Layout for the track and the point that marked with the mission
  1. Traffic Light Recognition

The car should stop before the stop line when the traffic light turns red and should move forward when the light turns into green.

2. Pedestrian Avoidance

The car should slow down to full stop when there is a pedestrian walking on the zebra crossing. After the pedestrian crosses the road, the car continues to drive.

3. Lane-changing, Slow-down and Stop on slope

Start from the left lane, switch to the right lane and stop

The car need to switch from the left lane to the right lane and stop for 3 seconds. After that, the car turns right and drives forward.

4. Obstacle Avoiding (Non-stop Driving)

Some road block will be placed on the right lane. The car need to avoid the obstacle without stopping.

Obstacle will be put on the right lane during the test

5. U-Turn

Just make a U-turn. Sounds easy but if the computer can’t complete within a single attempt, it probably don’t know how to reverse and complete the turn.

6. Stop Sign Recognition

During the test, two sign (Stop and blank) will be switched interchangeably by the staff. The car will need to recognise the correct sign to do the right action.

7. S-Bend Driving

The car should drive through the area without hitting the traffic cones.

More on this later

On the first day, the teams were given briefing on the hardware and install ROS and AutoWare. On day two, they start collecting data and working on the challenges. Personally I think the stop sign and traffic light would be the first I would work on as they seems to be the easiest among the missions. I will write more on this later when the teams make some progress.

Map generated by the data captured by the LiDAR
Team’s strategy to breaking down tasks

Love Self-driving technology and machine learning. Community leader in DIYRobocar Hong Kong.