The Formula Student competitions are a series of engineering competitions held annually in various European countries. University students from all over the continent show and race a car they developed.
There are three different kinds of competitions: combustion, electric and driverless. UGent Racing, focus on the electric and driverless cup.
The UGent Racing Team faced challenges with stable connectivity and accurate GPS bearings while their autonomous electric vehicle was in motion, leading to issues with real-time data transfer.
In their autonomous test-platform Pegasus, the team relies on two wireless communication methods:
Firstly, they use two GPS modules to approximate the car’s position during test runs, validating their localization pipeline. This is crucial when precise GPS measurements are unavailable under race conditions.
Secondly, they maintain an active 5G connection for real-time kinematics (RTK) corrections, enhancing the precision of their localization algorithms. The 5G connection also facilitates real-time development and verification processes, including pipeline visualization, parameter modification, and remote-controlled driving via livestream.
This simultaneous activity accelerates development and optimizes testing days.
The POYNTING PUCK-4 enables the team to integrate various antennas into a single, durable package as it is a 3-in-1 high performance multi-frequency antenna. In one enclosure you will find LTE/5G (2×2 MIMO) & GPS/GLONASS antennas.
Previously, they had separate commercial GPS and cellular antennas, but the PUCK’s consolidated design enhances the strength of the sensor mount, reduces weight, and improves aerodynamics.
These small, but robust antennas enhance the reliability of their pipeline by providing stable and consistent connectivity. As a result, testing is improved, and the development of their full-size electric autonomous race car is accelerated.
When using the PUCK, the team noted:
We have worked with POYNTING in the past for our autonomous test platform and when we explained this issue to them, they were very helpful in selecting the perfect antenna for our needs. Using their PUCK, we can collect GPS data while racing, along with providing us with global connectivity using 4G and local connectivity using Wi-Fi!
– Lucas Van Dijck – UGent Racing