Formula Student Germany 2017
© Continental AG

Formula Student Germany – No Driver but Lots of Brainpower

The alliance between Continental and the student design competition Formula Student Germany has been a resounding success for nine years now. The company has again supported several teams with components and expertise this year. In addition to the traditional competitions with combustion engines and electric motors, this year’s event had another attraction: The first Formula Student Driverless race saw the traditional racing series respond to current developments in the automotive industry.

Formula Student Driverless: challenge and opportunity

While it might sound easy, it’s anything but dull. The teams had to develop a racing car that could drive around the Hockenheimring entirely without a driver. “This was certainly a big challenge for the teams, for which they needed to rely on the different strengths and abilities of individual team members. It’s precisely this inter-disciplinary collaboration that impresses me again and again every year,” says Barbara Texter, head of Employer Branding Germany.

Texter considers the commitment of the students an excellent investment in their professional future. For many participants, their time at Formula Student proves to be a career booster: “We are looking for young people who are able to stand out thanks to their technical expertise and important soft skills. Young people learn all of this at Formula Student,” continues Texter.

The fact that the learning curve is steep is shown by the visible progress of the teams in the new driverless races – even if you take into account that the first step is always the hardest. “In the first year in particular, the results are secondary. The students need to think and work in new ways and to process a lot of new information. We are happy to give them the time. After all, we benefit further down the line from the experiences they gain,” says Frank Steinmeier, head of Cross Divisional Systems & Technology.

Teams sponsored by Continental on the road to success

However, for team members in the traditional races with electric motors and combustion engines, taking part is definitely not everything. The teams supported by Continental have worked very hard to achieve the best possible ranking in the competition. And with some success: The team from the University of Stuttgart scooped third place in the conventional combustion engine race, followed by the teams from the Technical University of Berlin and Regensburg University of Applied Sciences – both also supported by Continental. In the electric motor competition, the Running Snail team from the University of Applied Sciences Amberg-Weiden was delighted with third place. All the results can be found on the Formula Student Germany website.

A total of 115 student teams from all over the world took part in the annual event at the Hockenheimring, with 65 teams in the combustion engine category and 35 in the electric motor category. In the new Formula Student Driverless competition, a total of 15 teams started, five of which qualified for the main race.

Focus on automated driving

Continental has already been working on solutions to driverless mobility for several years and believes that the vision of fully automated driving can be a reality by 2025. The company supports the exchange of information between experts from different companies and industries on the 2025AD portal.