Budding engineers at Trinity College Dublin have presented the prototype autonomous vehicle technologies of the future at a special showcase, having spent the last year designing solutions to a number of challenges facing designers in this emerging field.
The engineers were challenged with focusing on one specific design problem and asked to develop concept solutions and physical prototypes capable of demonstrating the features of their concept. Working in teams, they focused on sub-themes including sports cars, emergency response vehicles, public transport options, and aircraft logistics.
Among the prototype designs are a sports car that grants unrestricted access (making it easy for disabled people to ‘drive’); an ambulance with an expandable operating chamber to enable surgery en route to hospital when accidents occur in remote locations; a self-driving bus that caters to the elderly and those with mobility issues; a system that will allow automated push-back and aircraft movement to improve runway safety and make traffic handling more efficient.
[caption id="attachment_35400" align="alignleft" width="663"] Ambulance with an expandable operating chamber[/caption]
Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Trinity, Conor McGinn, said: “The world is experiencing rapid change due to advancements in engineering and technology. One of the biggest revolutions that is currently taking place is in transport, where developments in artificial intelligence and electric motor technology is starting to fundamentally change how people and things go from A to B.”
“Over the past 7 months, student teams have been developing concept solutions for how this technology can change the world for good. The excellent design concepts developed by these teams offer truly novel and innovative ways to overcome big problems in such areas as public transport, emergency response, vehicle accessibility and ground logistics.”
The Engineering with Management Masters students who have designed the prototypes spoke about their concept solutions at the showcase, before unveiling their physical prototypes and providing physical demonstrations of the prototypes in the adjoined studio space of the Science Gallery.