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The Freescale Cup
Start Date: 4/27/2013Start Time: 1:00 PM
End Date: 4/27/2013End Time: 4:00 PM

Event Description:
Computer-driven cars will be racing to campus for the Freescale Cup East Coast Regional competition from 1-4 p.m. April 27 at the Convocation Center. 

Sponsored by the microprocessor manufacturer Freescale, the global collegiate competition challenges students to program and race autonomous, small-scale model cars around a racetrack, seeking the fastest time.  

Stakes will be high this year: Nearly 40 teams from Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island will travel to Cal U to face off for a chance to compete Aug. 21-24 in Harbin, China.

The West Coast regional winner will be on campus to face the East Coast winner immediately after the regional competition. The winner of that face-off will advance to the international contest. 

For Freescale Cup competitions, each team is given a car chassis and basic parts. Students are responsible for the programming, motor control and sensory components of the car. 

The little cars zip around the racetrack, following a black line by using a sensor or camera attached to the bottom of the car.

“This isn’t the type of problem that has a textbook or cookie-cutter solution,” said Dr. Jeff Sumey, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology.

Each car has different dynamics, he explained, so students must use mathematical formulas or trial-and-error to discover the most effective tuning options. 

“It is a very interesting engineering problem to solve,” said Sumey, who is responsible for bringing the competition to Cal U. 

Freescale Cup competitions have grown in popularity over the past decade. Worldwide, more than 20 countries and 1,000 universities now participate in Freescale events. 

The competition also has added to the success of the Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) program at Cal U, said Sumey, who started using the Freescale Cup cars as a term project for his junior-level EET 360 course back in 2010.

“The cars are creating a lot of excitement about the program and the class in a ‘trickle-down’ sort of way,” he said. “Freshman entering the program look forward to participating in the course, and student enrollment in the class has doubled since I added the project.” 

When the competition comes to campus in April, Cal U will have three or four teams racing their cars against teams from some of the best engineering universities in the region.

“It is a very good project for what we do in this program,” said senior Paul Dixon, an EET major. “The competition gives a very comprehensive view of embedded programs, and it takes what we do in the classroom to another level.” 

A team from Cal U couldn’t get its car to perform at last year’s regional competition at Penn State University, but this year students are looking forward to showcasing their knowledge on home turf.

“The competition is the end-game to our time in the program,” said senior Dakota Diehl, another EET major. 

“We look forward to the event. It really helps us stay focused on our studies, learn to be part of a team and manage our time throughout our experience at Cal U."
photo of Dr. Sumey and 3 students looking at a car

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