At WMG, we aim to bring the subject of Engineering to life for our students through the projects that they undertake during the course of their degrees. In turn, these students have organised visits to local schools and events to pass on the interest and passion that they have gained during their time at university.
At Warwick, the Formula Student project runs as a 4th year group project for Engineering students. The group typically has between 12 to 15 students taking part, drawn from all of our engineering degrees.
The team takes part in the annual Formula Student competition - Europe's most established educational motorsport competition, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Backed by industry and high profile engineers such as Ross Brawn OBE, the competition aims to inspire and develop enterprising and innovative young engineers. Universities from across the globe are challenged to design and build a single-seat racing car in order to compete in different events, which demonstrate their understanding and test the performance of the vehicle. In addition to technical skills, students acquire valuable management, marketing and people skills.
Warwick's team has faired well at the competition over the years with our 2010 team being placed 7th in the UK. An important element of the team's development is using their project to inspire others. Our recent teams have given presentations on their achievements and visited local schools with their completed race car to discuss the project and let the children experience it close-up.
The team and their robot complete their project by competing in the European RoboCup Rescue Championship in Germany. At the competition, the tele-operated robot has to navigate through a simulated earthquake disaster area, searching, locating and assisting victims who are trapped. The robot uses a series of human detection devices, including web-camera, CO2 sensor and infra-red camera to search for survivors.
The goal of the competition is to increase awareness of the challenges involved in search and rescue applications, provide objective evaluation of robotic implementations in representative environments, and promote collaboration between researchers. It requires robots to demonstrate their capabilities in mobility, sensory perception, planning, mapping, and practical operator interfaces, while searching for simulated victims in unstructured environments.
The Warwick team has enjoyed a great deal of success over recent years, with our 2010 team obtaining first place overall in the competition and our 2011 team being awarded the Best in Mobility Class award, as well as a lot of publicity for their novel XBox Kinect design.
In 2011, the team exhibited their Rescue Robot project at the Gadget Show Live exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. The event increased the awareness of young people and their parents of the sorts of exciting projects our students get involved in and how these translate into real life situations in the world.