Congratulations to Kevin Choi for winning 1st place in ViaCar 2011! Kevin Choi and his team "Speed Equals Null" from UCSD won 1st place with an average speed of 5.6ft/s in the 2nd annual ViaCar competition, held on May 8, 2011 in the Price Center East Ballroom. We would like to give a big thanks to our sponsor ViaSat for making this competition possible. The top 3 UCSD teams will be traveling to UC Davis to compete in the Natcar competition on May 20, 2011.

Stay tuned for details about next year's competition!

What is ViaCar?

ViaCar is an undergraduate design competition sponsored by ViaSat and hosted by UC San Diego, based on UC Davis's Natcar competition. Teams of undergraduate students design, build, and race an autonomous car which must follow a track marked by 1-inch white tape on dark-colored carpet. Under the tape, there is a wire carrying a 100mA rms 75kHz sinusoidal signal. The fastest cars travel at speeds up to 10ft/s.

ViaCar is organized by IEEE UCSD, supported by ViaSat, and affiliated with the UCSD ECE Department and the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Here is a video from the 2010 Competition.

Why does it exist?

ViaCar is modeled on the original Natcar competition, sponsored by National Semiconductor and hosted by UC Davis. We are starting ViaCar to make this great educational opportunity more affordable and accessible to institutions in Southern California. With UC funding on the chopping block, funding for hands-on engineering projects is being reduced at a time when it is needed most. With travel costs minimized, a team can build a car and compete for a total cost of $200 - $500. This is significantly less than it costs to travel to Davis for a day!

By starting a competition in Southern California, we hope to create a thriving ViaCar culture in the region. Our strategy is to get more schools involved by reducing the financial barriers to entry.

Read our Proposal to ViaSat.

Why should I participate?

Learn. Improve and expand your technical knowledge, gain practical experience working on a real project, and improve your soft skills.

Technical skills

  • Circuit design
  • Control theory
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
  • Real time embedded systems
  • Microcontrollers
  • Programming
  • Electromagnetism
  • Power supplies
  • Motor controllers
  • Printed Circuit Board (PCB) layout and assembly
  • Soldering
  • Motors and servos
  • Mechanical design and CAD
  • Modeling and simulation

Professional skills

  • Project management
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Resource allocation
  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Presentation
  • Documentation

Boost Your Resume. Differentiate yourself from the competition by showing you can get the job done.

  • Gain experience with technologies used in industry
  • Establish a track record of success
  • Show your passion for technology and problem solving
  • Demonstrate leadership potential

Have Fun!

  • The finished product is really cool when it works
  • Great feeling of accomplishment when it's done
  • Bond with your team over late nights of debugging
  • Meet and socialize with other teams at the competition
  • Show off your awesome project to your friends!

I want to participate. Now what?

  1. Form a team. Most ViaCar teams have 1-3 people. Guidance from a familiar grad student or faculty advisor may be helpful.
  2. Get funding. It typically costs $200 - $500 to build a car.
    Grant Sources (UC San Diego) Other schools:
    • Your IEEE student branch or section
    • Your ECE department
    • Student government
    • Companies, alumni, private donors
  3. Start building. Design your car, convince yourself that it will work by modeling and simulation, and then build it.
  4. Register for the competition.
  5. Show up on race day.