Hi Oliver. In your opinion, what are the three greatest challenges the student teams have to overcome at the EMEA finals of the NXP cup?
The first challenge a team faces is definitely getting familiar with all the hardware documentation. I’m talking about reading as many data books and plans as necessary to get the wheels turning on the little car in the first place.
Then, the next challenge is to develop the hardware and the software to a stage that gets the car around the track to successfully complete the race. After all, many of the contenders don’t make it across the finishing line on any of their attempts!
But the ultimate challenge, of course, is to be the fastest. This calls on the teams to get the very best out of their hardware, whether that’s with highly sophisticated software or clever hardware tricks. As in a real-life racing scenario, it’s all about not taking the bends too fast, not spinning the wheels, etc.
You’re on the jury for the special prize for the most innovative car. What does the jury look for in particular for this award?
What really impresses the jury are innovative solutions that no one else has come up with and how they are implemented. If the team has gone to the effort of printing a 3D component, it comes across much better than a makeshift solution cobbled together using hot glue and cardboard. But if that cardboard solution shows particularly high levels of innovative thinking, then it might just clinch the prize.
What do you enjoy most about the NXP Cup?
It’s the atmosphere that excites me the most! Watching the highly motivated teams, how they make last-minute tweaks to their cars under extreme pressure, the preliminaries and, of course, the final race itself. It’s just as exciting as a real race with so many bright minds competing in the narrowest of spaces.