by Laura Tenpenny.
Those of a certain age may remember a certain fictional teacher, Ms. Frizzle, and her magic school bus. Said bus allowed Frizzle and her students to visit unseen worlds in precise detail—even the insides of the bus itself. Now, a generous gift from Caresoft Global will give engineering students a similar benefit.
Students will be able to view some of the latest, cutting-edge vehicles, including the Tesla Model 3, from exterior to rivets in virtual reality (VR). Ultimately, it will give students and faculty the chance to impact future automotive design.
“This software takes us well beyond conventional book-and-lecture education format and trains our students on an industrially relevant platform for automotive design and simulation,” said Matthew Mench, head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering.
Caresoft donated exquisite 3D CAD images and complete teardown data for a number of vehicles as well as an analysis application with the ability to upload new designs and run simulations to test them in real-world scenarios like a car crash. Users can perform assessments and benchmarking processes, comparing their designs against some of today’s most technologically advanced vehicles.
“Industry-academia collaboration plays an essential role to innovation, and Caresoft is doing its bit so that teachers and students have the latest data and tools,” said Prideep Subramanian, Director of Sales, North America at Caresoft Global. “The vehicles to come will be built in a modular, cost-efficient fashion that uses less materials and offers higher range of travel. Students can learn about these technologies and be prepared to contribute to future vehicles.”
This robust technology, which will integrate mainly into UT’s mechanical engineering curriculum, will open up high-level design testing and other opportunities, from Senior Design projects to potentially groundbreaking faculty research.
“I cannot wait to see how students and faculty use this unique technology to contribute to automotive research,” said Dean Janis Terpenny. “We are deeply grateful for Caresoft’s generosity and vision for the importance of STEM education in industry innovation.”
Alumnus, Rob Tiede (BS Management ’97), initiated this collaboration through his work with The Charlton Group, a privately held, international consortium with activities in multiple sectors, including transportation and technology.
“Charlton endeavors to improve the lives of Tennesseans with philanthropic ventures, advocacy, and educational support, such as this Caresoft-UT partnership,” said Tiede. “As a UT graduate, it’s a pleasure to help prepare future industry leaders from my alma mater.”
UT is one of just a few universities worldwide to have received this product. Since its beginning in 2007, Caresoft has become a sought-after partner of auto manufacturers looking for answers to engineering problems, and dozens of their clients are using Caresoft’s technology.
Now, engineering students and faculty have access to current technology of the automotive industry and the opportunity to put some Big Orange fingerprints on the future of automotive design.