Gadjah Mada University’s SEMAR Community achieved two titles at the Autonomous Programming Competition 2023 by winning 1st place for SEMAR Proto UGM and 3rd place for SEMAR Urban UGM. In this competition, students from different parts of the world competed to create a self-driving car control program (Autonomous Vehicle) from a vehicle to reach maximum efficiency. This competition was held to hone students’ skills in building path-planning algorithms, vehicle control, and vehicle perception. ROS (Robotic Operating System) was used in this competition as an environment to communicate with vehicles through the algorithm designed. The assessed aspect in this year’s competition was the mileage (km/kWh), which is an efficient indication of the vehicle. The higher the mileage value, the more efficient the car is to drive. During the testing, the committee would run the algorithm that has been designed via a server. Other cars would then appear randomly, and the designed car program must be able to avoid collisions with these other cars. The cars also should neither exceed a certain speed limit nor violate traffic signs.
“The SEMAR Urban program was a result of a program development that was previously used in last year’s competition. This year, SEMAR Urban developed a new path-planning method called A-Star Algorithm, which was more optimal than the algorithm used last year. SEMAR Urban also used a control method adaptable to the track for fuel efficiency purposes. On the other hand, the SEMAR Proto program was a result of the previous year’s improvement program which used to be unstable. We did some improvement, tuning, and more stabilization,” explained the General Manager of the UGM SEMAR Team, Adzim.
The UGM SEMAR Team felt very challenged to participate in this year’s competition. “Of course, we are very happy and joyful that this year SEMAR Urban was ranked in the top 3 of the international stage, while last year we only ranked in the bottom 2. As for SEMAR Proto, we are also definitely very happy, especially after we look back to the previous competition’s track record when our name was not among the winners. Nevertheless, this year our team succeeded in embracing world-class titles and that is something beyond our expectations. The SEMAR Proto Team victory at APC (Autonomous Programming Competition) this year was an extraordinary ‘come back’ and unexpected. Even two days before the competition was closed, SEMAR Proto Team was still ranked last in the valid ranks, but it turned out that when the competition ended, we were in the top ranking,” said Adzim.
The program-making from SEMAR Urban was a development made by this team from the previous year by doing some evaluations of last year’s program, conducting research, and implementing improvements to the program used this year. The program-making was not entirely from scratch because it focused more on improving the previous year’s program. Meanwhile, for ideas and strategies, we prioritized data collection and evaluation. During these two months, we focused more on improvisational thinking rather than total planning from zero and we never thought of winning the world-class championship, so we had ‘nothing to lose’ in this competition.
Even though they succeeded in winning the competition, SEMAR Team experienced several challenges while participating in the APC competition due to the time management constraints of the team members that affected the team’s research and development. Whilst for the SEMAR Proto Team, the challenge was on the relatively small number of people in the team, the team was only handled by 3 people, hence the human resources found it hard to brainstorm and finish the competition. Luckily, the three people who handled this team were final-year students who had more time so they devoted more time to the race for 2 months.
“Hopefully, in the upcoming years, SEMAR Urban Team can achieve more in this APC competition. In addition, we also hope SEMAR Urban UGM Team will be able to participate in the AUC (Autonomous Urban Competition) in the following year, and for the SEMAR Proto Team, we hope that this championship title can be regained next year, and the results achieved by the SEMAR Proto UGM team can hopefully be a tradition to make UGM proud in the international stage,” said Adzim.