- Undergraduate engineering students from Canadian University Dubai (CUD) design an autonomous car powered by solar energy.
- The 22 senior students collaborated across five technical groups to complete the innovative vehicle as part of their graduation programme.
- The prototype aims to serve as a transportation medium connecting CUD’s two City Walk buildings.
- The project demonstrates the advancement of urban transportation and aligns with the UAE’s recent approval of the first national license for self-driving vehicles.
- External partnerships are being explored to further utilize the solar-powered car in practical transportation applications.
A group of 22 senior students from Canadian University Dubai’s School of Engineering, Applied Science, and Technology have come together to develop an innovative solar-powered autonomous car prototype. This cutting-edge vehicle represents a significant step towards sustainable urban transportation solutions in Dubai, as it runs solely on solar energy, reducing carbon emissions and promoting eco-friendly mobility.
Five technical groups join hands for project
The year-long project involved cooperation between five distinct technical groups, each responsible for different aspects of the car’s manufacturing process. One team engineered the steering and braking of the car, while another led the bodyshell design, material selection, and suspension system development. A third team managed the central processing design, vehicle controls, and integrated inputs from the camera and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system, which serve as the car’s core intelligence.
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Another team focused on the vehicle’s smart navigation, configuring the LIDAR and camera system to ensure precise obstacle detection and avoidance. Lastly, the fifth team was responsible for supplying power to all the car’s onboard electronic devices using the photovoltaic panel installed on the vehicle’s roof. They designed a unique power conditioner that charges the traction battery and delivers a 60-volt power supply to the car, harnessing the sun’s energy for sustainable operation.
Integrating all these systems into one cohesive car that met the project requirements posed a significant challenge. However, with guidance from their professors and effective teamwork, the students successfully merged all the components, creating a fully functional solar-powered autonomous car.
The students’ diverse backgrounds and skills contributed to enhancing the car’s functionality. Working within such a diverse team allowed them to optimize the product’s performance. For instance, Malak Osama, a Mechatronics major, highlighted how research, data configuration, and collaboration on different software and systems improved her programming and engineering skills.
The project’s faculty supervisor, Dr. Salih Rashid Majeed, Assistant Professor in CUD’s School of Engineering, Applied Science, and Technology, praised the students for gaining valuable interpersonal skills and technical expertise through this real-world application of their theoretical knowledge. He emphasized the significance of teamwork and how the project provided the students with a deeper understanding of engineering principles.
The solar-powered autonomous car prototype is currently on display at the university, undergoing final adjustments. Furthermore, the university is actively exploring external collaborations to utilize this eco-friendly vehicle as a means of transportation between CUD’s two City Walk buildings, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future in Dubai.