BYU engineering students have built racing hybrids and record-breaking streamliners, but now they’re working with companies such as GM and Siemens to set their sights a bit smaller.
Students have spent the past semester redesigning and improving high-end remote control cars with other student teams at universities in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, China and South Korea.
The teams presented their digital designs at a competition during finals week where representatives from GM, Altair Engineering and Siemens provided feedback and chose the car with the best design.
But these aren’t like the toy cars you used to get for Christmas. These RC cars are from HPI Racing, a company that makes scale model RC cars that are miniature replicas of existing vehicles.
Greg Jensen, one of the professors who works with the students in the CAx engineering applications course, says the purpose of the class goes far beyond teaching design and modeling skills.
“Over the past couple decades, companies like GM, Ford, Boeing and pretty much any large multinational corporation have opened up design centers around the world,” he said. “If we don’t teach our students how to engineer in a global context, they will graduate from BYU thinking they are prepared, but not knowing how to interact with global design communities.”
Hulas King is the director of global opportunities, global community relations and product life-cycle management at Siemens, and he believes these types of classes can do much to help young engineers.
“This teaches students how to collaborate with multiple cultures around the world, specifically in a very technical subject, and prepares them to hit the ground running when they graduate,” he said. “Truly, the world becomes their campus when they work with such a collaborative process.”
The course will be offered again next fall semester for students interested in learning about global design initiatives.