29. 4. 2022

Students in the DESIGN+ project designed an autonomous tram

Dual autonomous tram - this was also the topic addressed by the participants of the 18th annual DESIGN+ interdisciplinary educational project at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen (ZČU) in mixed interfaculty teams.  Škoda Transportation was one of the contracting authorities for the topics.

The Pilsen-based company offered the students a futuristic theme, of course, related to transport. The task was to design a tram that would not only transport people, but also deliver ordered packages that people would pick up at tram stops. The most successful of the teams that solved the assignment, was the team led by Jan Mikeska from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, ZČU. He introduced the tram, which is to be used for passenger transport during the day and largely filled with parcel boxes during the night. These are then taken out of the tram at the stop by handling robots. The jury appreciated the technical design of the project and its sophistication, the level of involvement of the designers, the significant contribution of the medical staff, the teamwork, but also the critical view of the marketers on the economic aspects of the project.

What is the main and general goal of the DESIGN+ project? Students learn to cooperate, combine their construction, design and other professional knowledge and skills and solve their current innovation problems in close cooperation with development workers and managers of industrial companies. The project also contributes to the development and global success of the engineering discipline Engineering Design Science Methodology (EDSM), which has been developed for decades in the Department of Machine Design at FST in links with leading foreign technical universities, and which is continuously creatively applied and verified by the students in the project.

A total of six interdisciplinary teams consisting of young engineers, designers, health professionals and marketing specialists worked on the set topics during the winter semester. The students continuously consulted their solutions with representatives of the contracting companies and on 9 February they presented their solutions online during the final competition presentations to the evaluation committee, consisting of representatives of the contracting and partner companies and participating faculties of ZČU. The evaluation was focused on the construction and design of the proposed solutions, their scope, innovativeness, applicability in practice, the systematic nature and level of the documentation, the quality of presentations and the teamwork itself. “This year’s presentations showed how important it is to have a balanced representation of professions in the team. If one of them was missing or weak, or if another was too dominant, it was clearly visible in the result,” commented this year’s project founder, Stanislav Hosnedl from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at ZČU.