12 February 2002
Aston University Students in Five Day Sprint to Design a Racing Car
A TEAM of students from Aston University has taken up the challenge to design a racing car in just five days.
The budding designers and engineers are joined by students at Temasek Polytechnic (Singapore) and University of Colorado at Boulder in this unique global initiative. The three teams will work around the clock to give themselves the best possible chance of finishing ahead of the checked flag.
The start of the race coincides with the beginning of the UK Science Week: 11 March 2002. In pole position the Temasek team get off to a flying start at 9am (local time). After eight high-octane hours they transfer the work-in-progress to their Aston associates; eight hours later the Colorado students get off the grid. This cycle continues for 120 hours, concluding 15 March. The whole process will be showcased live on the project website at www.GDicar.com.
The Aston students are currently receiving hands-on assistance from US-based SolidWorks to get to grips with the company's latest design software. They're working diligently to acquire the technical skills that will enable them to successfully complete the race. After five days the aim is to present the final design of a computer-generated, 3D innovative racing car.
"The hands-on 3D design experience, together with the tight deadlines and collaborative team-working is key to the success of the project," said Chris Evans, Teaching Fellow of Industrial Design at Aston. "All of the students taking part will gain enormously in developing transferable skills, which will better equip them for their future successes in the design and engineering marketplace," he continued.
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Notes to editors
• Images of similar projects undertaken by Aston's engineers, and sponsors' logos, are available: register a request at www.GDicar.com
• Regular updates of this project's progress will be available at: www.GDicar.com
• The completed car will involve radical thinking, new features and design ideas to push the boundaries of conceivable and conventional automotive design, even if it challenges its engineering integrity
• The teams can call upon any technical resource for assistance and use a variety of design techniques and tools. Some of these will be anticipated in advance of the event
• During the event the teams will work in shifts communicating with each other only during a 'handover' period as the working days transfer from one part of the globe to another. This communication can involve video conferencing, audio communication and computerised collaborative techniques. Many of the software tools that will be used offer facilities for shared working
An opportunity has been created to involve UK schools in this project. The internet-based company, digitalbrain.com, has agreed to provide a web portal to enable schools to have easy access to the project. The digitalbrain.com portals offer a web-based community to schools from primary to secondary ages. Using this portal, pupils can participate in activities within their own school, access material from home and communicate with other students. These communities can reach other schools, allowing collaboration with, for example, larger LEA based activities
Rosanne Kramer, Director of SolidWorks Education Markets based in Concord, Massachusetts is quoted as saying "This is one of the most interesting and challenging projects I have ever seen in my time working with SolidWorks"
• First team starts:
Monday 11 March 2002 at Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore - 9.00am Singapore time (1.00am GMT)
• Aston Team starts:
Monday 11 March 2002 at Aston University - 9.00am (ie, 8 hours after Singapore)
• Third team starts:
Monday 11 March 2002 at University of Colorado at Boulder - 9.00am (ie 7 hours after Aston: 4.00pm GMT)
Each team will overlap at the beginning and end of the day with the other two partner teams; each day follows the same pattern
The final day is 15 March 2002: Colorado complete at 5.00pm (local time) 12 midnight GMT
Anticipating good, televisual interactivity over the web links during the 'hand-over sessions' at the beginning and end of each nominal 8hr day
Other times of high activity are mid-mornings (GMT) (researching/problem solving) and mid-afternoons (preparing information to be transmitted to the next team)