A Year’s Worth of Teamwork Pays Off | Students Bring an Innovative Car to Life | Driving the Future in Sustainable Urban Transportation

Engineering Graduation Project Showcases CUD’s First-Ever Car

June 16th, 2023, Dubai (UAE):  The Engineering graduation projects were showcased at an event organized by the School of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology; at the Canadian University Dubai (CUD).  As part of the graduation program requirement, each group comprised of a multi-disciplinary team that presented their respective projects.  Five groups of students collaborated on the same project, with each team being responsible for an aspect to manufacture an urban car that is powered by solar energy and operates independently.  The design, assembly, and manufacturing of this car project took the students more than 12 months of close collaboration and hard work to come to life.  The project is an example of an exceptional capstone project showcasing the future of sustainability in urban transportation. 

Speaking about this innovative project, Feras Ahmed Usmani, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics; who participated in the decision-making process of the project said: “By focusing on each specific significant aspect required to bring the car to life, each group contributed to the successful creation of the urban car, powered solely by solar energy.  The collective effort of the entire group was essential, as no single student or team could have achieved this alone.  The car is only as smart as the creators of it.” 

Collaborative Effort: Bringing an Engineering Idea to Life

The integration of each team's specialized areas formed a cohesive group of 22 students working together on the multi-disciplinary capstone graduation project.  The first team were responsible for the steering and braking of the car, tasked with the design and assembly of the car’s steering and braking system. The second group were accountable for the bodyshell design, the car's outer shell design, material selection, and the suspension system.  The third team was tasked with the central processing design managing the car's controls, as well as processing all the inputs received from the camera and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system sensors, serving as the car's core intelligence.  The fourth team was the navigation team who were relied upon for configuring the LIDAR and camera system, ensuring the precision of obstacle detection and avoidance.  The fifth team was the power team, responsible to supply power to all the onboard electronic devices of the car by utilizing the PV panel installed on the car's roof.  This was achieved through a uniquely designed power conditioner that charges the traction battery and the battery of the car was successfully charged with a 60-volt power supply.

Overcoming Challenges: Merging Systems 

“We did extensive research prior to diving into the project, which helped to best prepare us for what was required during the project.  Looking back, I consider the greatest challenge was the merging of all the systems into one cohesive car that met our project requirements.  For example, ensuring the integration of the steering system and enabling the CPU to receive commands from the control centres.  The guidance from our Professors, effective student teamwork, and strong engineering skills were fundamental to the success of all the car’s developments.”  Feras Ahmed Usmani, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics.  

Sharing insights about the interpersonal qualities required during such a project, Joud Najeh Mohammed Ayasi, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics; said: “The whole team’s determination and perseverance were key to the success of the car project.  While more than ten technical errors demanded immediate attention over the journey, the resolution process could take up to two weeks for each error, so it really was the perseverance of our whole group that drove the car to life.” 

Applying Knowledge in Real-World Application

Speaking about the project, Dr. Salih Rashid Majeed, Assistant Professor in CUD’s School of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology; said: “Through the year-long project, the students have become equipped with valuable interpersonal skills and technical expertise.  The practical application of their theoretical knowledge to this real-world project is remarkable and life-changing for their futures.  The project facilitated a deeper understanding of the true essence of engineering and the significance of teamwork among the students.”

Malak Osama, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics, who participated in the navigation group of the project spoke about the skills she had learned: “The highlights of what I have learned over this past year during this car project are vast!  Practical skills such as working within such a diverse team have clearly demonstrated to me how we are interdependent upon one another to optimize the functionality of a product.  We could not have done this without our professors’ guidance.   My programming and engineering skills have become enhanced over the duration of the project through research, data configuration, working on different software and redefining various systems.  During my current internship, I find myself applying what I learned during this project at CUD to my internship journey.”

Sumaya Alameri, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics; agreed with Malak and said: “The project has helped my understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques, a subject that greatly interests me.  Building upon this knowledge, I am eager to explore and develop further concepts in AI.”  

Sustainable Urban Transportation: Engineering Brings the Future Here

The dedicated effort and exceptional technical abilities of every student within the group have been instrumental in bringing CUD's first-ever car to life.  With a glimmer of vision for the upcoming journey, Feras said: “At the moment, the car is on display at CUD and undergoing some final adjustments.  We are also exploring external collaborations to utilize the car as a means of transportation between CUD's two City Walk buildings.”

By applying theoretical knowledge to real-life projects, the students managed to interpret the data received and direct the car to make intelligent decisions and navigate independently.  The community eagerly awaits the emergence of future innovative projects of this caliber from the Engineering Department, which has set the bar high.  This multi-disciplinary capstone project highlights the potential of sustainable transportation solutions, a testament to the bright future of engineering.

To learn more about CUD’s Engineering programs, click here.

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