Currently, I am working on the dashboard of Formula Student Team Delft's latest car; the DUT19. This year, we decided to shake the design up a bit by introducing a removable dashboard module. First, let me shortly introduce what the dashboard is, and why the new concept is an improvement.
Basically, the dashboard is the interface the driver was with the car through its hands. The steering wheel and its flappy pedals, buttons, switches, LEDs and LCD are all part of the dashboard. The steering wheel, obviously, is used for steering car, whereas the flappy pedals initiate DRS (Drag Reduction System; a moveable wing element in the rear wing that, as the name suggests, when opened, reduces drag).
The car has to be watertight, and when the dashboard is assembled, there's no dissambling it. That's where the removable module comes in. Currently, it is envisioned reminscant of the Nintendo Wii U GamePad. The LCD, buttons, switches are LEDs all encased in a 3D-printed housing that is made fully watertight. This will be placed on the chassis in the same location as the current dashboard, but, once placed, it can be taken out again for software development, repairs or modifications. Furthermore, the bundle of wires inside the car is greatly reduced, as everything now fits snug in the dashboard module.
Of course, since this is Formula Student, everything has to be as light as possible. And to be as light as possible, you have be as compact as possible. That's the biggest challenge for the dashboard, and it requires a lot of careful planning.
Hopefully, a full CAD model will be ready soon to offer a better view of what is to come!
- Art van Liere, Computer Science