High School students compete to design vehicle of the future
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
The Windsor Star/Mary Caton
Who better to design a vehicle of the future than the next generation of computer engineers or software developers?
The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) launched just such a competition Tuesday for local high school students.
All high school students in the Windsor-Essex Region are invited to enter. The winning design will become part of WEECDC’s marketing campaign to rebrand this area as Canada’s Automobility Capital.
A group of 30 students from Leamington District secondary school and Tecumseh Vista Academy gathered at WEEDC’s Institute for Border Logistics and Security for the launch.
The Leamington students are part of the school’s Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program while the Vista students are from that school’s Entrepreneurship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (e-STEAM) program.
“These kids have already expressed an interest in entrepreneurship and the STEAM program,” Vista teacher Lauren Omstead said. “This is the perfect opportunity to expose them to a lot of local opportunities and it aligns with what we’re already talking about in class with artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.”
Vista Grade 10 students Nievae Centurione and Faraan Rashid both found the design competition intriguing.
“I’m very competitive so any chance to compete is great,” said Centurione. “I think we as kids, we’re more creative and open-minded.”
Rashid welcomed the opportunity to explore his interest in computer science.
“I like computer science so anything with technology always links back to that,” the 15-year-old said.
A digital design contest didn’t really appeal to Connor Pearce, a Grade 12 Leamington student, but he was quite interested in learning about the latest automotive advances they got a peek at Tuesday.
All the students experienced the virtual reality cave at the IBLS. The three-dimensional cave is aimed at reducing the risks of product development and innovation with cutting-edge technology.
“This is a good opportunity to learn things I might not otherwise,” said Pearce who is interested in welding as a career.
Stephen MacKenzie, WEEDC president and CEO, said the competition is a great way to develop future industry talent.
“For any economic development group the challenge is talent,” MacKenzie said. “We need a talent pipeline. This contest will show high school students they can be successful here. We’re letting them know these are the tools they can access. They can meet their goals right here. They’ll be using computer software that I’ve never even heard of.”
MacKenzie said the winning design will be featured prominently in WEEDC’s marketing campaign on social media and at the 2020 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The winning designer will receive $500 in Devonshire Mall gift certificates, free pizza for a year and tickets to the NAIAS. Two randomly selected students will each receive a $100 Devonshire Mall gift certificate.
The contest ends March 31.