by Sam Bott
3 July, 2017 - 2 minute read

Winton promotes a culture of collaboration and innovation in different ways, including through events such as the Winton Technical Challenge, our in-house hackathon.

Initiatives like this give Winton employees a chance to flex their creative muscles and have fun at the same time. You don’t have to be a coder to build something great and enjoy the experience, and we encourage everyone in the company to join in.

For the most recent challenge, nine teams – drawn from departments including technology, research, operations and trading - put the pedal to the metal, as each set out to design, construct and program a mini-driverless vehicle.

The cars were judged on appearance, straight-line speed and their ability to stay on a racetrack picked out with chicanes and hairpin bends. One challenge even required them to navigate around makeshift obstacles strewn across the course.

Each team received a starter kit that included an Arduino – an open-source electronic prototyping platform - a range of sensors, a car-shaped chassis, motors, wheels, and a laptop pre-loaded with some basic code.

That still left plenty of coding to do, and much room for ingenious design hacks. The competitors needed to deploy a combination of lateral thinking, hard-nosed logic and manufacturing flair – which may explain why the winning team contained a mixture of technologists and researchers.

Winton certainly isn’t somewhere you get hemmed in by a narrow job spec. And sometimes we even get to channel our inner Elon Musk. See how the chequered flag fell in this short video of Driverless Car Saturday: