#445 F1Tenth Autonomous Racing Course and Competition

Principal Investigator
Rahul Mangharam
Start Date
July 1, 2023
End Date
June 30, 2024
Project Type
Education - Workforce Development
Grant Program
US DOT BIL, Safety21, 2023 - 2028 (4811)
Grant Cycle
Safety21 : 23-24


Contribution: An autonomous vehicle hardware platform, called F1TENTH, is developed for teaching autonomous systems hands-on. This project will design and develop the education modules and software stack for teaching at various educational levels with the theme of ``racing" and competitions that replace exams.

Background: College-level robotics courses often focus on theory, while most hardware platforms for robotics teaching are low-level toys aimed at younger students at middle-school levels. The F1TENTH robotic race car fills the gap between research platforms and low-end toy cars and offers the hands-on experience in learning the topics in autonomous systems.
Intended Outcomes: The F1TENTH vehicles offer a modular hardware platform and its related software for teaching the fundamentals of autonomous driving algorithms. From basic reactive methods to advanced planning algorithms, the teaching modules enhance students' computational thinking through autonomous driving with the F1TENTH vehicle.

Application Design: Over 80 universities have adopted the teaching modules for their semester-long undergraduate and graduate courses for multiple years. Student feedback is used to analyze the effectiveness of the F1TENTH platform. This project's focus is to maintain and grow this community through education, outreach and K-12 training events.

Findings: More than 80% of the students strongly agree that the hardware platform and modules greatly motivate their learning, and more than 70% of the students strongly agree that the hardware enhanced their understanding of the subjects. The survey results show that more than 80% of the students strongly agree that the competitions motivate them for the course.        


Strategic Description / RD&T
A new course for teaching hands-on autonomous systems with modular autonomous vehicle hardware and software has been created. The hypothesis is that autonomous driving fundamentals must be taught in combination with actual hardware to prepare the students for industry and academia jobs. This combination will enhance the students' computational thinking regarding the software and their systems thinking regarding the whole autonomous vehicle. This is because the students are allowed for repeated testing and iteration and have the affordance of a physical device to learn as opposed to on-screen simulation only.
Furthermore, it is hypothesized that by teaching autonomous driving in a competitive environment called Autonomous Racing, the motivation and fascination for learning in the field of autonomous vehicles and programming can be kept higher. The idea behind this variation of competition-based learning  is to have three races in the course that incentivizes the students while not using rankings for grading, with the goal to teach more than in comparison to a standard class. Here is the course contents - https://tinyurl.com/F1TENTH-22Schedule

Module A: Introduction to F1TENTH, the Simulator & ROS2
1 Introduction to Autonomous Driving
2 Automatic Emergency Braking
3 Rigid Body Transform
Module B: Reactive Methods
4 Vehicle States, Vehicle Dynamics and Maps
5 Follow the Wall: First Autonomous Drive
6 Follow the Gap: Obstacle Avoidance
7 Race 1: Preparation
8 Race 1: Single-Vehicle: Obstacle Avoidance
Module C: Mapping & Localization
9 Scan matching
10 Particle Filter
11 Introduction to Graph-based SLAM
Module D: Planning & Control
12 Local Planning: RRT, Spline Based Planner
13 Path Tracking: Pure Pursuit
14 Path Tracking: Model Predictive Control
15 Behavioral Planning: Trustworthy Autonomous Vehicles
Module E: Vision
16 Classical Perception: Lane Detection
17 Machine Learning Perception: Object Detection
18 Final Project Selection
19 Race 2: Preparation
20 Race 2: Single-Vehicle: High-Speed
Module F: Special Topics and Invited Talks
21 Ethics for Autonomous Systems
22 Raceline Optimization
23 Special Topic 1
24 Special Topic 2
25 Special Topic 3
Module G: Race 3 And Project Demonstrations
26 Race 3: Preparation
27 Race 3: Multi-Vehicle Head-to-Head
28 Project Demonstrations
Deployment Plan
 We developing https://courses.f1tenth.org/ for online offerings of this curriculum. 
The course will be taught again in January-May 2024. More details on the overall project is at https://f1tenth.org

We have hosted 13 international autonomous racing competitions - https://f1tenth.org/race
The 12th competition was attended by over 150 participants from 23 different teams. All teams built the same reference platform and competed based on their autonomous racing algorithms. The next races will by at 
2023-24 F1Tenth Races - https://f1tenth.org/race
1. CPSweek’23, San Antonio 	- RACE 11 (May’23)
2. ICRA’23, London			- RACE 12 (June’23)
3. IEEE IV’23, Alaska		- RACE 13 (June’23)
4. IROS’23, Detroit			- RACE 14 (Oct’23)
5. ICCAS’23, 2nd Korea Race- RACE 15 (Oct’23)
 6. ICRA’24, Yokohama, Japan- RACE 16 (May’24)
 7. IEEE IV’24, Korea	         - RACE 17 (June’24)
 8. IROS’24, UAE                       - RACE 18 (Oct’24)
We are also planning a tutorial and demonstration at ICAR - 21st International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR 2023) will be held from 5 to 8 December 2023 at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Expected Outcomes/Impacts
The course instructors will develop 30 reference platform vehicles and demonstrate them working at high speeds of 8-15mph in corridors. 
We will host 5 international competitions with over 80 academic partners worldwide. 
Expected Outputs
Theme I: Safe Autonomy - This thrust will enable AV controllers that combine the performance and generalization abilities of machine learning with the safety guarantees afforded by formal and semi-formal verification. Researchers in this theme develop fast verification methods that scale to run in real-time on-board the vehicle through a combination of formal methods and testing. A cloud-based simulator will enable scalable verification which combines robust testing and falsification with reachability analysis for real systems.

Theme II: Efficient Autonomy - Researchers in this theme develop the hardware and software architectures for power-efficient and timing-guaranteed execution of autonomy algorithms. These include computer vision, motion planning, and neural network inference engines.

Theme III: Coordinated Autonomy - This thrust will enable a fleet of AVs to coordinate on-the-fly to achieve fleet-wide safety, higher transportation network efficiencies and enable exploration of new mobility and ridesharing services.

Theme IV: Secure Autonomy - Researchers in this thrust develop models of cyber-physical attacks, and resilient estimation and control schemes to guard against them and mitigate their effects in the field.
The rising popularity of self-driving cars has led to the emergence of a new research field in the recent years: Autonomous racing. Researchers are developing software and hardware for high performance race vehicles which aim to operate autonomously on the edge of the vehicles limits: High speeds, high accelerations, low reaction times, highly uncertain, dynamic and adversarial environments. This paper represents the first holistic survey that covers the research in the field of autonomous racing. We focus on the field of autonomous racecars only and display the algorithms, methods and approaches that are used in the fields of perception, planning and control as well as end-to-end learning. Further, with an increasing number of autonomous racing competitions, researchers now have access to a range of high performance platforms to test and evaluate their autonomy algorithms. This survey presents a comprehensive overview of the current autonomous racing platforms emphasizing both the software-hardware co-evolution to the current stage. Finally, based on additional discussion with leading researchers in the field we conclude with a summary of open research challenges that will guide future researchers in this field.

Individuals Involved

Email Name Affiliation Role Position
rahulm@seas.upenn.edu Mangharam, Rahul University of Pennsylvania PI Faculty - Tenured


Amount of UTC Funds Awarded
Total Project Budget (from all funding sources)


Type Name Uploaded
Data Management Plan F1Tenth_Autonomous_Racing_Course_and_Competition.pdf Aug. 17, 2023, 3:50 p.m.

Match Sources

No match sources!


Name Type
The Autoware Foundation Deployment & Equity Partner Deployment & Equity Partner