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Audi asks students to design small and think big in self-driving car competition

Audi seems to know a thing or two about putting together an autonomous vehicle. To further encourage the development of this software, while presumably scouting out potential talent, Audi invited students to participate in the Autonomous Driving Cup, where teams will develop the software for model cars.

Intended primarily for students focusing on electrical and mechanical engineering as well as computer sciences, the cup will see ten teams competing to build the best performing self driving car. The model in question is a 1:8-scale Audi Q5 which will feature all-wheel drive and can travel up to 25 mph. Audi will provide this as well as a basic software package from which the teams are expected to develop the best working programs.

It may seem like programming a toy car to zip around and perform tasks is a little different from doing so for an SUV meant to carry people, but competition organizer Björn Giesler states that the obstacles that the students will need to overcome are very similar to the ones faced when programming for the real deal. The measurement sensors in the models have to work just as precisely as those in their big brothers,” Giesler says. “We are excited to see the innovative solutions the students come up with.”

The Mini Q5’s will be tested on a competition course where they will be scored on things like how it deals with oncoming and intersecting traffic, parking situations, and different precision tests. The goal is to finish the course with the best time, with points deducted for crashes and imprecision.

Related: Audi’s self-driving A7 prototype completes its journey to CES

Successful teams will walk away with cash prizes, too: 10,000 Euros going to the winner while 5,000 and 1,000 Euros will go to 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.