Earlier this year, the RoboRacing project manager, Megan Huang, reached out to the director of Purdue Motorsports after he had a noticeable period of inactivity from last year’s competition into the fall. Unfortunately, he eventually confirmed that evGP had decided to cancel the Autonomous division. Building an autonomous full-size go kart is no small task, and the time and effort required to participate may have resulted in the lack of interest from other teams and the organizers. However, after learning about the autonomous division’s cancellation, most of the previously participating teams banded together and began to organize a new competition themselves.
Megan Huang, the RoboRacing project manager, has been involved in the planning of this new competition. Every other week, she meets with representatives from other EVGP teams to discuss rulesets and logistics. The competition was renamed as the Autonomous Karting Series (AKS), and it will be held on May 15-19. Purdue Autonomous Motorsports have reserved the original evGP Autonomous track as an independent club, and a website for AKS is now under construction. Since the competition is now organized independently of evGP, individual teams have more of a say in the details and logistics.
We’re happy to see the efforts from RoboJackets in preserving this unique competitive forum. As Megan said, “There are competitions centered around building a go kart and competitions centered around automating pre-made vehicles, but it is difficult to find competitions like evGP Autonomous that combine both aspects… [this is] why I am so interested in the continuation of this competition. It brings a lot of space for people in mechanical, electrical, and software disciplines to learn.” Hopefully, with the leadership from RoboRacing and all the other teams from EVGP Autonomous, AKS will have a successful inaugural year.