RVC, Skolkovo Foundation and ASI announce the official beginning of receiving applications for the Up Great technological competitions implemented as part of the National Technology Initiative. The first series of the competitions will be aimed at revealing breakthrough solutions in the unmanned vehicles design and hydrogen energetics development.
Up Great is a new format of open engineering competitions in Russia modelled on various prestigious international competitions such as XPrize, Darpa Grand Challenge, etc. The participants are to find solutions to the most complicated technological problems that yet remain unsettled in the world. The winning team that manages to overcome the world technological barrier will receive a large cash prize for representation to the experts, jury and wide audience a clear and repeatable solution of the task set by the contest.
The official receipt of applications for the first three Up Great competitions begins, namely for: "Winter City", "The First Element. Air" and "The First Element. Terrain". The competitions can be attended by Russian and foreign engineering teams, innovative companies, scientific organizations and universities.
The competition "Winter City" is aimed at creating an unmanned vehicle that could travel in extreme climatic conditions in a city, without road marking, at poor visibility of the road and in traffic. At the same time, it should provide speed and safety level equal to an average driver. According to the competition, the car must travel unoperated through all the check-points of the 50 km test site in less than three hours, laying the route by itself and minding other vehicles on the test site, obeying traffic regulations and not provoking other travelers to commit traffic violations. The contest task and conditions were developed by an expert group under the supervision of the Sberbank Robotics Laboratory. The technological partner of the competition is Yandex. The prize fund is 175 mln rubles.
The other two Up Great contests are "The First Element. Air" and "The First Element. Terrain" are intended to create power plants working on hydrogen fuel cells that by their efficiency could be compared with traditional internal combustion engines and batteries. The competitions tasks have been developed with the assistance of the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The participants of the contest "The First Element. Air" are offered to develop a hydrogen fuel cell for small unmanned vehicles. The competition task involves creation of a battery with a capacity of 1.3 kW and mass energy density of at least 700 W⋅h/kg, while its mass should not exceed 7 kg. The designers will have to install the created power plant on a special multicopter platform, then it must remain in the air in a cyclic flight mode for at least three hours. The competition prize fund is 60 mln rubles.
The competition "The first element. Terrain" is intended to create hydrogen fuel cells for terrain and floating medium-sized vehicles: manned and unmanned motorcycles, cars, light boats. The power plant output should be at least 15 kW at energy density of 500 W*h/l, and the capacity should not exceed 150 liters. The contestants will have to install the power pant onto the unmanned car platform provided by the organizers, then participate in a race and stick to the track for at least three hours. The competition prize fund is 140 mln rubles.
Alexander Povalko, General Director of RVC:
Igor Drozdov, Chairman of the Board of Skolkovo Foundation:
The applications for participation in the Up Great competition "Winter City" can be submitted until September 1, 2018. The expert examination of the applications will be performed in autumn, based on results of which the teams will be admitted to the qualification tests. The final tests of remote-piloted vehicles and winners determination will be held in February-March 2019.
Applications for participation in the competitions "The First Element. Terrain" and "The First Element. Air" can be submitted until October 1, 2018. The qualification phase will be held from November to December 2018, and the final competitions will be completed in May 2019.
The rules for conducting the technological competitions are determined by the RF Government Decree No. 403 of April 3, 2018. Tasks for the first three competitions and the regulations for the jury work are approved by the competitive commission established in accordance with the Decree of the RF Ministry of Education and Science No. R-429 of May 15, 2018.
The Up Great technological competition "Winter City"
The background to run the competition centers around significant and global technological barriers in the promising segment of unmanned transport systems. The breakthrough to be obtained would help Russian high-tech companies achieve leading positions in this segment on the world market.
To date, there are the following unresolved tasks in the field of unmanned vehicles:
— travelling at poor visibility and severe weather conditions;
— confident response to static and dynamic obstacles;
— quality forecasting of the other road users motion path and taking necessary actions upon these data analysis;
— quality positioning of a remote-piloted vehicle while driving in urban and suburban;
— confident motion when there are other road users.
One of the most important aspects of the unmanned vehicles operation is to make them understand the environment they are in so they could make safe decisions. And the key point is that a remote-piloted vehicle determines the exact location not only in a city or on the road, but in the lane it is actually in with high accuracy. In spite of the major progress achieved in resolving this task at ideal weather conditions, the same task, but at poor visibility and severe weather conditions, when the sensors are affected by snow, dirt or debris or negative temperatures remain one of the most relevant for the world community.
According to the statistics, annually 22% of 5 mln of such accidents occurred in bad weather conditions taking lives of about 1.2 mln people. Professionals in the field of motor transport admit the formula "90-60-30". It means that the transition to unmanned vehicles could reduce the number of accidents by 90%, the load on transport infrastructure by 60%, and emissions by 30%.
End-to-end solutions to the problem of driving unmanned vehicles at poor visibility and severe weather conditions are demanded by the promising markets of NTI, AutoNet, NeuroNet, SafeNet, and the entire transport industry in general.
The Up Great technological competitions "The First Element. Terrain" and "The First Element. Air"
The task of creating an effective substitute for traditional fuel is one of the most urgent for the transport industry all over the world: from rail and sea transport to cars and unmanned aerial vehicles on the mass market. It has the following prerequisites:
— the constant search of ways to reduce fuel costs, which, depending on the transport type, constitute up to 50% of operating costs by transport companies and vehicle manufacturers;
— the need to reduce emissions of harmful substances into the Earth's atmosphere (carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxides, etc.). For example, about 25% of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are caused by different kinds of transport;
— uncertainty in the hydrocarbon markets, different countries' aspiration to become energy independent.
At the same time, we can witness a constant increase in the share of electric engines in vehicles, which, on the one hand, creates the demand for new types of electric batteries for vehicles (a filed where Russian developers and manufacturers have virtually no chances to surpass their foreign competitors) and, on the other hand, for new power plants, the most promising of which, commercially wise, are hydrogen fuel cells.
Hydrogen fuel cells can both produce energy for a vehicle's engine, and can be used to provide power to vehicle equipment. Hydrogen power plants on fuel cells have the following advantages:
— significantly higher efficiency compared to internal combustion engines;
— environmentally friendly as the engine does not emit any harmful substances;
— provide options for flexible design configuration to be used in a wide range of vehicles: from sea vessels to bicycles.
The barrier that limits the mass use of hydrogen fuel cells is constraints connected with the existing design of installations, the reason of high cost and short operational capacity of a hydrogen power plant.
Now a real race to be the first who will solve these problems and come up with the design of the installation for mass production is starting up across the entire world. At the moment, hydrogen fuel cells operated cars are being developed and tested by Toyota Mirai, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, General Motors, Daimler AG, manufacturers from China, Brazil, etc. Group of companies FellowSHIP and Fuel Cell Boat BV have been created to incorporate hydrogen fuel cells into sea transport in Europe. In Germany, Siemens has already started production of U-212 submarines with fuel cells which were ordered by concerned parties from Greece, Italy, Korea, Israel.
The competition will provide a breakthrough design of power plants on hydrogen fuel cells that will give Russian producers an opportunity to occupy first place in a strategically important segment of the world market estimated in several dozens of billions of dollars a year.