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Racing car

Winning with CAN

At this year’s Electronica (November 11 to 14), students of Munich Motorsports presented their racing car for the Formula Student race. A connected oscilloscope showed the car’s CAN communication.

Students of Munich University with their electrical racing car and an oscilloscope from Teledyne LeCroy (Photo: CiA)

FOUNDED AS THE FHM RACING TEAM IN 2005, the team is now known as Munich Motorsport. At the moment, the team has about 100 active members of various faculties from the Munich University of Applied Sciences. A group of professors permanently supports the team by maintaining the dialogue with the university. The team’s goal is to build a racing car, mainly for the Formula Student Germany Event in Hockenheim.

Practical experience allows the students to gain and improve skills in a way theoretical studies cannot impart. The students have experience in using software, for example Catia V5 R19, Mathworks, ANSYS 13.0, Sim Pack, HyperWorks, 2D Analyzer, and Optimum K. Over the years, the team has gained the know-how to manufacture components themselves. They create carbon fiber parts (monocoque, side boxes), electronic components (wiring loom, circuit boards), and tuned and machined parts with their own machinery.

The students use four CAN networks in their racing car. Several interfaces communicate via micro-controllers that they developed themselves. Sensors that are responsible for the steering angle, braking pressure, temperature, as well as operational controls communicate via CAN.

With their electrical car, the PWe5.14, the team scored a 4th place among 40 other teams at this year’s Formula Student. In the category Cost, they even achieved a 1st place. Next year, the team will face a new challenge for the electrical vehicle: As the students think they tapped the full performance potential of a rear-mounted drive with the PWe5.14, they want to increase the PWe6.15’s efficiency with a four-wheel-drive system.

Formula Student

Formula Student is an engineering design competition wherein students build racecars and compete against other university teams. The American Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) considered motorsport to be an ideal platform for future engineers. The first competition took place in Michigan in 1981. Since then it has become an international project: Every year more than 300 Formula Student teams worldwide built racecars. In addition, there is a rising number of countries carrying out a Formula Student event. In Germany, the first event was organized at Hockenheim in 2006. With the emergence of green energy, the range of combustion race cars was extended with vehicles with electrical and hybrid powertrains.

The competition is characterized by static and dynamic disciplines. In the static disciplines, professionals working in economic and industrial fields have to be convinced by the vehicle’s design and business concept. The dynamic disciplines comprise the evaluation of the racing performance.