07/11/2018 - Permalink

Auto-drive challenge aims to inspire next generation of engineers

Related topics: Children's services
Councillors and council officers with a Westfield 'pod car' outside Shirehall

Councillors and council officers with a Westfield ‘pod car’ outside Shirehall

Shropshire Council has teamed up with Westfield Technology Group to challenge Shropshire’s senior schools to come up with solutions to real world problems.

Westfield, one of the UK’s leading autonomous vehicle providers is hoping to inspire the next generation of designers and engineers through their Skills Development Programme.

This initiative supports the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) curriculum and provides students with an exciting opportunity to work with Westfield in developing an autonomous vehicle capable of overcoming a specific set of challenges.

So far, nine Shropshire schools have registered to take part including The Marches School, The Priory School, Oldbury Wells School, Lacon Childe School, Thomas Adams School, Sir John Talbot’s School, Adcote School, St Martins School and Mary Webb School and Science College.

Westfield will provide these schools with a radio-controlled car as the basic platform and then fully support students in turning it into an autonomous vehicle capable of competing in the challenges that they’ve designed to mirror real world situations, such as airport safety.

The theme for this particular challenge is ‘making the vehicle driverless’ and those taking part will also be given £500 to help them to buy any software and hardware they need.

The best performing vehicle will win its school a £500 prize, with prizes of £250 and £100 for those coming second and third respectively. The winner will be chosen at next September’s ‘Tech Severn 2019’ conference.

Councillor Simon Harris, Shropshire Council’s Deputy Cabinet member for highways and transport, said:

“It’s really important that we equip our children and young people with the skills they will need in the world as adults – it’s key to providing a good education.

“It’s fun and a great challenge which will really stretch the knowledge and skills of those taking part.”

Dr Julian Turner, Westfield Technology Group CEO, said:

“We are delighted to be working with senior schools in Shropshire and to support the future engineers.”

The challenge is open to all senior schools and there’s still time to register. For more information, please email: emma.murdock@shropshire.gov.uk