University Students Illustrate What’s in Store for Canada’s Automotive Future

TOYOTA CANADA - Safer, cleaner vehicles made of advanced materials and technology. Student researchers with the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence are working on this and more to make Canada a world-class leader in automotive research and development. Teams from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia were nationally recognized at the AUTO21 2012 Conference in Montreal, Quebec for their contributions to Canada's automotive landscape. 

The teams tied for first place in the Toyota Canada - AUTO21 HQP Poster Competition, each taking home a $4,000 prize. The competition is open to student researchers within AUTO21, Canada's automotive research program. More than 60 student teams took part in the competition. 

Sandy Di Felice, Director of External Affairs at Toyota Canada stated, "AUTO21 bridges the gap between academe and industry, allowing us to work together on some of the industry's most pressing issues. We are proud to support the HQP Poster Competition as the students participating are the next generation of leaders in automotive engineering. With young minds contributing to collaborative research projects, we are certain to see great advances in Canada's automotive future." 

The University of Toronto team contributes to the Recyclable, Lighweight Polymeric Nanocomposites project, which is led by Professor Hani Naguib. Team members include Qi (Aaron) Guan and Reza Rizvi. 

The University of British Columbia team contributes to the Injury Prevention Through Adaptive Seat Design, which is led by Professor Douglas Romilly. Team members include Nima Ziraknejad, Pranay Saxena and Anshul Porwal. 

"Part of AUTO21's mandate is to support student researchers across the country," said Dr. Peter Frise, AUTO21 Scientific Director and CEO. "Our students continue to demonstrate cutting-edge knowledge and expertise as they forge the way to a prosperous and sustainable automotive industry in Canada." 

The annual HQP Poster Competition boasts a total prize purse of approximately $15,000. Sixteen semi-finalist teams are selected from the initial pool of entrants, with each team member receiving a $50 voucher for a bookstore. The semi-finalists provide an oral defence of their research poster. Final winners are selected upon this evaluation. The winners receive a cash prize to be divided amongst the team members. Judges include senior industry, government and R&D experts. 

Final ranking of the top student teams:
Project name - University - Ranking/prize
Recyclable, Lighweight Polymeric Nanocomposites - University of Toronto - First/$4,000
Injury Prevention Through Adaptive Seat Design - University of British Columbia - First/$4,000
Mems-Based Intelligent Active Safety Systems - University of Alberta - Second/$2,500
Manufacturing Ergonomics Through Improved Simulation and Modelling - McMaster University - Third/$1,500.00
Enhancing Safe Vehicular Mobility in Older Adults - Lakehead University - Honourable Mention/$1,000

AUTO21 supports nearly 200 researchers and 350 student researchers at 46 universities across the country. More than 120 public and private sector organizations partner with AUTO21. With an annual research budget of approximately $11 million, AUTO21 and its partners support projects in six key areas: health, safety and injury prevention; societal issues; materials and manufacturing; design processes; powertrains, fuels and emissions; and intelligent systems and sensors. AUTO21 is supported by the Government of Canada through a Networks of Centres of Excellence program, and its administrative centre is hosted by the University of Windsor.