FPGA modules power electric racing car

FPGA drives car

Formula Student is the largest engineering competition in the world. The Zurich/Switzerland based AMZ student team managed to put itself top of the world rankings, also thanks to the innovative, FPGA module-based approach for the electric drivetrain. Four custom inverters are built around the Xilinx Zynq 7015 based Enclustra Mercury ZX5 SoC module to reach the fastest lap times.

Formula Student – the largest engineering competition in the world (see box) – has 18 events a year, with more than 600 student teams participating. In the twelve-year history, the AMZ (Akademischer Motorsportverein Zürich) racing team, consisting of students from the ETH Zürich and the university of applied science Lucerne, has managed to put itself at the top of the world rankings thanks to continuous improvement of concepts and the introduction of new innovations, like the use of an FPGA module for controlling the electric drive motors. The tenth anniversary two years ago was crowned with the successful world record for the fastest acceleration for an electric car from 0 to 100 km/h in 1,513 seconds. In order to remain competitive, the individual vehicle components must be coordinated and integrated into one reliable and performant system. With most of the components developed and built custom theirselves, AMZ can do just that.

The way to the top
The aim of the 2018 vehicle “eiger” – all cars are named after Swiss mountains – was to reach the maximum possible number of points in the competition. This is achieved by driving the fastest lap. By lap time simulation, energy calculations and analysis of the log data of past seasons it was decided to follow a concept with a fully custom four wheel drivetrain, a Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) monocoque, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and windtunnel validated aeropackage and hydraulic suspension.

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Credit:”FPGA modules power electric racing car”, Andreas Horat, AMZ electric.