To run a non-profit project – KTH formula student

Since spring 2020, NCAB Group Sweden has been sponsoring the KTH Formula Student project. It is a non-profit project run by students at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. The project is about developing a driverless, electric race car.

pcb for KTH Formula Student project

Here is a short update about the current status of the project. If you are interested in more background information on the project as well as more on NCAB’s role, read our blog post.

“At the beginning of October we had the opportunity to meet KTH Formula Student in their garage on the university campus in Stockholm. During the visit, KTH Formula Student spoke about their biggest challenges in running a non-profit project. At present, COVID-19 naturally is a big challenge that limits the availability of people, time and sponsors. This has resulted in the new car being delayed.

NCAB Sweden during a visit at KTH Formula Student project.
From the left: John Francke, Account Manager NCAB Group Sweden, Bengt Boström, PCB Engineer NCAB Group Sweden, Simon Richter, Powertrain & Electronics KTH, Emil Tagesson, Powertrain & Electronics, Jordi Altayo Head of Electronics KTH Formula Student, Tore Johansson, Powertrain & Electronics KTH.

Another, more continuously, challenge is to attract students who have the interest and time to be involved in the project. KTH Formula Student is a non-profit project and the participants study full-time at KTH. This means that the project depends on the participants’ continuing interest and willingness to put an effort into building the car.

Working in a non-profit project

Why then do you want to participate in a non-profit project like KTH Formula Student? The simple answer is that the students want to develop themselves and gain knowledge about how the process develops from idea to reality while learning the technology behind an electric, self-driving car.

KTH Formula Student car from 2014/15.
Car from 2014/15 named ev11.

The ambition for the project is to have the car ready by February 2021. But the project has encountered difficulties along the way. Factors that prove successful in modulation may not work in reality. For example, how the wheel angle vs. the steering wheel stroke signals to the computer.

Different challenges to solve

Almost all parts in the car are dependent on each other in different ways. The consequence of this is that there are at times difficulties in deciding where to begin. For example, the electronics engineer can´t design the boards unless they know how much space they have at their disposal. And it’s difficult for the mechanical engineer to design the car´s body parts if they don´t know how the parts compare to the rest of the vehicle. Or, if building a module that handles the steering of the battery the size of the batteries needed must be known, and at the same time the electronics engineers need to know how much space is available to understand how much battery power they can utilize. Challenges like these need to be solved during the process.

PCBs from NCAB

At the end of September, NCAB Group Sweden delivered 13 different printed circuit boards to the project. The KTH team have now started assembling the boards and the prototype run is now in full swing. The prototype is meant to validate that signals work as desired and that the electrical design is functional. Can the signals direct the different units, such as the wheel function and various types of meters in the dashboard, etc.

We at NCAB Group Sweden are both proud and happy to collaborate with KTH Formula Student. They are creative and talented. And we will continue to support their projects both with technical advice and most likely probably with more printed circuit boards.