Future Transport Challenge at The Leigh UTC

As part of a taster day for prospective year 12 students, The Leigh UTC welcomed Mr Phil Edwards, founder of Weald Technology, to lead an engineering and technology challenge based around future transport. Weald Technology is an engineering company specialising in sustainable transport solutions, with a driving ambition to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.

Phil began the day with an introductory talk outlining the nature of the problem to be solved in the challenge: congestion and emissions on today’s roads. The students then split into groups and began to brainstorm technical solutions to the problems. After the students had been discussing the problems for a while, he led another talk on the different types of technical solution, and what current engineers were working on; everything from delivery drones to the internet of things.

The students then split back into groups and picked one of their ideas to develop into a short presentation. The students had been able to demonstrate a range of skills, including problem solving, presentation, communication, and teamwork. Especially impressive were the students who managed to create really exciting ideas while working with people they had only just met.

Ideas ranged from those based around data processing, like intelligent cameras that could calculate the most efficient paths that cars should take, be it in different lanes or on different routes, and communicate this information to individual sat-nav systems; to engineering solutions like the above ground Eurostar-style train that could replace motorways – cars would drive on and be dropped off at their required junctions.

Other groups came up with ideas that were more structural in nature, like reforming entire cities’ transport systems to work within a park and ride system, or redesigning roads to allow cars to move more freely to their exact destination and reduce traffic jams.

Weald Technology will return in a few weeks to run the same challenge with prospective year 10 students, and looks forward to seeing what ideas they produce.