Milrem Robotics and the Sinrob group have concluded a partnership agreement with Formula Student Team Tallinn at the Robotex fair, which started today, for the development of Estonia’s first autonomous formula car. The companies are supporting the development of the formula car financially as well as with mentors and supervisors.
“The young and talented engineers of the formula team have a very ambitious goal. It is important, and perhaps even mandatory, for Estonian companies to support this goal,” said Kuldar Väärsi, Chairman of the Board and owner of Milrem Robotics, “and even more so as the same team has achieved excellent results under very intense international competition in previous years.”
“The automotive industry and, in practice, the entire technology sector is moving towards autonomy. As part of the development of the self-steering formula car, we can learn and use the same technologies and transfer experience gained in the project to other areas in the future,” said Martin Ploom, the leader of the self-driving formula car team. “The electric formula car team has six years of experience, but there is no such knowledge for the driverless vehicle. Milrem Robotics and Sinrob have already started with autonomous vehicles, which provides an opportunity to learn from experience. The knowledge base is critical to such a challenge, all the more that the goal is to compete already in the coming summer,” he added.
In addition to their successful performances at formula student competitions, another important goal for the Formula Student Team Tallinn is to promote Estonian engineering and provide students with a solid base of knowledge and experience. “Participating in the self-steering formula car category is a challenge, but this is the only way to remain relevant in the field of technology. In the course of our work, we will train students that are really needed in high-tech companies. Experienced team members will commit to the project for one year at the least, and they will have completed a product development cycle where an idea becomes an actual object,” said Ploom.
According to Kuldar Väärsi, it is critical for the long-term growth and competitiveness of the Estonian economy to be a leader and pioneer in the development and implementation of robotics and AI solutions over the next 10–20 years. “We need to start today. Just like in the late 90’s, when we started creating an e-government, today we have to start creating economic models that value our people and to apply advanced technology to carry out traditional resource-intensive processes,” said Väärsi.
Formula Student Team Tallinn is a student organisation drawing members from the Tallinn University of Technology and Tallinn University of Applied Sciences that since 2006 has completed 11 student formula cars—five vehicles with internal combustion engines and six formula cars with electric motors. The project involves designing, manufacturing and assembling vehicles in nine months, offering practical training to young engineers in addition to the theory taught in schools. The team has been globally successful for twelve years, securing podium places in the United States, Canada, Italy, Austria, Hungary, and elsewhere.
Milrem Robotics belongs to the Sinrob group, which, in addition to the development of battle systems, also develops robotics systems for civil and commercial applications. For example, under the Sinrob Commercial brand, an unmanned rescue vehicle is being developed in cooperation with the Rescue Board, which can be equipped with various fire-fighting systems and also used for other rescue operations. Complete robotic solutions are also being developed in the mining, agriculture and service sectors.