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Developing innovative automotive technologies gives University of Windsor student a financial boost

February 2, 2010

Participants and judges of the AUTO21 TestDRIVE competition

Participants and judges of the AUTO21 TestDRIVE competition

Back row from left: Dr. Peter Frise (Scientific Director & CEO, AUTO21), Michelle Watters (Executive Director, AUTO21), Dr. Jayson Myers (President & CEO Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters), Mehdi Farrokhnejad (University of Western Ontario), Martin Lavallière (Université Laval), Makram de Freige (McGill University), Siddhant Ahuja (University of Windsor), Akram Abdel-Rahman (University of Waterloo), Faysal Ahmed (University of Toronto), Mert Bal (University of Western Ontario)

Front row from left: Dr. Suzanne Fortier (President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada), Mr. Durwood Smith (Director, Magna Advanced Technologies Inc.), Mr. Karna Gupta (MaRS Advisory Services), Mr. Jean-Paul Farag (Consultant, Advanced Technology & Powertrain, Toyota Canada)

Ottawa, ON: A smart camera technology that can help increase a factory’s efficiency helped a University of Windsor student win a national automotive research competition. Siddhant Ahuja, a PhD student, won the AUTO21 TestDRIVE competition, receiving a $10,000 scholarship for his work on indoor real-time location tracking systems.
Wireless communication monitoring systems have been ineffective in tracking items on an assembly line due to the harsh shop conditions that can disturb radio frequencies. The visual sensor network technology presented by Ahuja can trace products through an assembly line and aid in automated inspection and identification, increasing the flexibility and productivity of automotive factories. The network uses spatially distributed smart cameras and web-enabled software.

The AUTO21 TestDRIVE competition showcased leading edge technologies and automotive knowledge developed in part by Canadian university graduate students. As Canada’s national automotive research program, AUTO21 provides funding to more than 50 applied R&D projects at 45 universities across the country. More than 500 students contribute to these projects, along with 220 academic researchers. Since its establishment in 2001, AUTO21 has supported more than 1400 graduate student researchers with federal and private-sector funding.

“Since each contributes to an industry-led research project, AUTO21 students are gaining a unique blend of academic and industry R&D experience,” said Dr. Peter Frise, Scientific Director and CEO. “The technologies presented at TestDRIVE have the potential to keep Canadians safer, make manufacturing processes more efficient and contribute to lighter, stronger, more fuel efficient vehicles.”

TestDRIVE was held in conjunction with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters’ Roadmap to Recovery Summit in Ottawa. The TestDRIVE winner was announced during the Summit’s Canadian Innovation Awards.

“The future of manufacturing will be driven by innovative ideas of our young generation,” said Jayson Myers, president & CEO of CME. “TestDRIVE is the epitome of transforming today’s great ideas into tomorrow’s innovation.”

In addition to the $10,000 scholarship, a $5,000 scholarship was awarded to Martin Lavelliere of Laval University for his research on virtual driver trainer software. 

AUTO21 supports research 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.

For more information:

Stephanie Campeau
Communications Manager
AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence
Tel: 519.253.3000, ext. 4129
Cell: 519.890.6830

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