The self-driving electric racing car belonging to the student team URE (University Racing Eindhoven) burnt out during a test drive last Friday.
This is reported by Cursor. The URE15, as the vehicle was called, won the competition for autonomous cars in Barcelona early August.
The accident happened on Friday afternoon during a test drive at a location in the Belgian town of Lommel. The car started to jerk and suddenly stopped. “Shortly after the driver saw smoke coming out of the side of the car, he took 2 minutes to get out and stood next to the car “, team manager Dennis Gubbels told Cursor. “That is also a requirement for all Formula Student teams: a fully restrained driver must be able to get out of the car within five seconds. All drivers practise intensively with this and fortunately they succeeded in doing so”.
So no one was injured, but the car was beyond saving. In a few minutes, the vehicle was completely burnt out. “Although lithium batteries always remain risky, the car’s safety systems did their job and ensured that everyone got away safely”, Gubbels says. “This included numerous sensors and fire-inhibiting components, such as a special barrier between the battery compartment and the driver”.
The fate that befell the car is also a tragedy for the student team, Gubbels says. This means that the thank-you day for the partner companies cannot take place. Also team members who were supposed to go for a drive no longer have the opportunity to do so. “We still informed all members on the campus and via an online connection on Friday what had happened and of course everyone was shocked”.
New URE team
Another annoying side effect is that the car can no longer be used to test new innovations for the new URE team. “Of course all the knowledge we have gained with the URE15 is available to them. This knowledge can be used during the development and construction of the future URE16. However, it is of course very nice if you can test certain things with the precursor, or if you can use parts from the old car that are not yet available to you at that time”.
“All in all it was a sad day”, the team manager says, “with the only bright spot being that all the safety functions, such as slowing the spread of flames, worked properly. But this was not the end of the season as we had imagined”, Gubbels concludes.
Eindhoven News translator: Bob