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January - A rough start
After a long Christmas break, the team starts fresh with the new year. While the team started the year in good spirits, the COVID-19 virus continues to threaten the world. With the recent announcement of a curfew in the Netherlands, the country has been troubled by a series of riots which started in our home city Eindhoven. In a sense, this reflects the somewhat troublesome month URE has had in January. Read all about the advancements and challenges of last month in this newsletter!
 
Competition update
While the days are at it's shortest, and the first snowflakes of the year have fallen, the days of Electric testing with the new URE15 are over. Several competition events have released their competition handbooks, including Formula Student Germany in the final week of January. While the first ones were still quite optimistic about the available spots for teams at the competition, FSG announced a big decrease in the number of available teams to register. Also, there was an announcement that the number of people per team would be drastically decreased, although this is still provisional since the COVID situation keeps unpredictable. 

In order to register, or qualify, for a competition event, all teams have to participate in the 'registration quizzes'. These are quizzes organized by the competition events, which teams all over the world have to make simultaneously. The questions in these quizzes are about the rules which everyone has to adhere to, as well as general engineering problems, challenging the team to quickly, and accurately solve these questions. The teams with the most correct answers and the fastest times are then qualified to go to the competition event in the summer vacation. This is why these registration quizzes are very important for the team. As the Corona regulations keep us from coming together in a classroom with the whole team to tackle these questions, we had to come up with a new system. This year, we will use two different streaming platforms at the same time, ensuring an optimal information flow and enough discussion possibilities if needed. Over the full month of January, the team has been practicing and finetuning this new online quiz structure. With the final practice session tomorrow, the team is ready to beat the competition on the 5th of February.
Driverless
The autonomous systems department continued developing and improving every part of the software pipeline. One of the major improvements which was immediately visible in the performance of the driverless car was done in the track detection algorithm. 
We are now able to load in information about the track which was gathered by a previous run over the same circuit. This enables the car to know the full track when starting the Trackdrive event, thus enabling it to skip the exploration phase during the first lap. 
Next to this, the first steps have been taken to optimize the trajectory of the car on the circuit. Up till now, the car always followed the line at the center of the track. With the optimized path, it will be possible to generate a racing line for the car to follow, which will enable us to reach the fastest lap time.
Watch the video below to see the latest test day of the URE14D where we tested this new system!
Conversion
While the software improvements of the autonomous systems were going steady, the mechanical conversion of the URE15 from Electric to Driverless mode experienced some troubles. 
For the conversion from E to D mode, there are a few things that need to be added or replaced. One of them is that the regular brake pedal is replaced by a new pedal that is part of the Emergency Brake System (EBS). This system was already highlighted in the previous newsletter, however, some problems were encountered when installing the EBS into the regular hydraulic brake system that is already present in the car. This setback caused some delays in the conversion and test planning of the URE15D. With this setback of the EBS, some spare time is available to prepare all other systems with extra care, making sure the car is immediately up to speed when everything is ready for the first autonomous meters of the URE15D. 
Aerodynamic concept URE16
One of the goals for this year is to have a new chassis design ready for the new season in 2022. The aerodynamics department has already been doing lots of work in that field. The department has been doing research into completely changing the aerodynamic concept. This means that the front wing, undertray, and rear of the car undergo huge design changes. Since the battery of the URE16 will most likely be a lot more compact than the one we have in the car right now, The rear of the car gains a lot of design space for aerodynamics. One example is that it will be possible to make the rear of the car a lot slimmer. To investigate the aerodynamic effects of these changes, lots of CFD simulations are used. Below, you can find the result of one of these simulations, where you see the vortical structures generated by the underside of the car.
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University Racing Eindhoven · Horsten 8 · Momentum 0.161c · Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant 5612 AX · Netherlands

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