Robots here, robots there, robots everywhere! The world is embracing robotics
regardless if it is in your living room for cleaning the floors, cutting your
grass, delivering your sushi or into a warehouse to pick the products you have
ordered via Internet and box them to be shipped to you. All of those have a common
thread of thinking: autonomous robotics.
For 8 years the
NXP Cup in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) have made the hearts of students beat faster,
mostly right before the speed race, as one of the student team members place
their 1/18 scale autonomous electric car model on the race track and hope that
the car will handle the unknown layout without tumbling or flying out of a
Autonomous car racing is not new, but the NXP Cup brings new ideas to the game
such as additional challenges for obstacle avoidance, emergency braking,
precision driving and speed zone management. The vehicle is powered by 2 rear
motors (brush or brushless), steered by one servo in the front and can hold as
NXP MCUs and MPUs
as the team wants to load on the small chassis, the whole powered with one
battery and, of course, no wireless connectivity.
2019/2020 season set a new record with the
signing of 160 teams
across 12 countries from Morocco all the way to Lebanon, passing by the
Netherlands. Some high school and university students with teams of maximum 3
members have worked on their vehicles since December 2019 to prepare for the
regional qualification races.
Alas, as the schedule was being finalized, the COVID-19 pandemic hit around
the world and put the teams on hold, away from their labs, forcing them to
work via remote classrooms.
However, thanks to NXP Cup’s sponsor Electromaker.io, 10 teams have
registered for the NXP Cup Electromaker Innovation Challenge with the task of
creating, developing and documenting their work on the Electromaker.io project
platform. Student teams have been aiming at the 3 top prizes of Euro 1000, 500
and 250 with winners announced on Friday May 8th. Despite the COVID-19
situation, they have worked to create the best out of a difficult situation:
not being able to run their cars in public and face their competitors on the
The Winning Entries
Three projects are making the headlines for the
Electromaker NXP Cup Innovation Challenge, all selected after a difficult evaluation, as many have done an outstanding
work in creativity, documentation and execution on their racecars.
round of applause goes to Team
from Střední škola informatiky elektrotechniky in
Rožnov pod Radhoštěm (Czech Republic) who took the top
winnings of the pack as they worked in equipping their bolide with laser,
encoders and special 3D printed parts to handle the new equipment. Most
importantly, they have managed, despite all the COVID-19 restrictions and
limited access to equipment, to create their own K64F PCB circuitry and hand
solder the parts on it, making it a real challenge for high schoolers working
from home. The documentation shared on the Electromaker platform for downloads
is very comprehensive, well organized and the videos of their car running
demonstrates their achievement.
prize was awarded to team
from the Germany University of Lübeck, a second time participant
university into the NXP Cup EMEA. The team’s description of the car on
the Electromaker.io platform says “Badass robot car developed by
reasonably advanced monkeys”… Well those students did a great
job in creating a custom assembly board to hold all of the connections of both
FRDM-K66F and FRDM-KL25Z boards in a central and organized way, adding 6
ultrasonic sensors, IR ground sensors and encoders to name just a few of the
added features to this race car. They mounted a large LED Array (they call it
the “LED banana”) to help with light management and
comprehensively documented the logic and algorithms for managing the signal
from the Pixy2 camera and a 2nd line camera mounted just above it.
Knight Rider Kitty
car from AGH University in Poland is the 3rd performer of this challenge,
using the Alamak chassis model developed for the NXP Cup EMEA competition.
They developed an array of 3D printed mechanical improvement to the vehicle
including steering, camera mount, bumper along with new circuitry to manage
NXP’s MKV58 and MKL25Z MCUs, external LEDs a possible 2nd line camera
and laser sensors. AGH University is one of the steadiest participants of the
NXP Cup EMEA over the years and has been using its passed experience to
produce another very interesting and well-developed autonomous car.
Coming up Next
The creativity of the teams engaged in this challenge demonstrate the pool of
talent that our schools and universities are preparing to enter the
engineering industry in EMEA. With focus on innovation, discipline and grit to
deliver, despite the difficult situation we have experienced in this early
part of 2020, shows that the future is bright for those students joining the
NXP Cup Challenge.
The NXP Cup EMEA continues for the 2021 season and enrollments are already on
the rise as students from this “interrupted season” take the
chance, once more, to improve their racecars and hold a chance to show the
world their achievement in the first quarter of 2021. Join the NXP Cup EMEA by
signing up or join the community to learn more about next seasons’