Our overall philosophy was robustness through simplicity
The winning team was Drives, who won both the award for speed and maneuverability. Humans Invent spoke to Team Drives to find out their secret to success.
Think Scrapheap Challenge. The engineering brief was to build a remote controlled vehicle out of Dyson Balls and a few spare parts found in Dyson’s research, design and development department.
Our team all had ideas around the engineering behind our vehicle but what led the design was the materials that were available. Our overall philosophy was robustness through simplicity so that there would be fewer points of failure and less chance of problems.
Testing was rudimentary along the way but it began at a very early stage to improve reliability, articulation and performance –this is what led our team to victory. In the development process we made lots of changes as our vehicle went through various drive iterations. This allowed us to make our car as reliable as possible.
On what basis did you win?
By keeping to a strict engineering brief our team managed to bag two prizes. The first was for navigating the track the fastest and the other for manoeuvrability. To win the manoeuvrability challenge our car had to successfully tackle an obstacle course made up of moguls, tight turns and steep ramps made from Dyson parts.
Knowing the design requirements was crucial to our success. Before our design took shape we made sure we knew the course inside out. We quickly realised that the gravel and ramp would be our biggest challenges.
The gravel ended up being a real sticking point for other teams
To overcome this we made a machine that had really good traction and had enough torque to pull itself up, whilst also being able to ride over the gravel rather than ploughing into it. The gravel ended up being a real sticking point for other teams. We identified this as a problem early on which allowed us time to test various materials and develop something that really worked.
Having a higher top speed would have been a bonus. The fact that our car had enough torque for wheel spins on the gravel meant we could have had more straight-line speed.
Our car wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as some of the others but with exposed parts on the chassis it allowed us to do quick repairs and modifications along the way.
Was there another team whose car you admired and, if so, why?
Team Weasel proved to be tough competitors for us. The team had incorporated the steering mechanism from a DC39 vacuum cleaner allowing them to glide around corners at great ease. It was fantastic to watch.