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EFE Students Win Big in Engineering Competition
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EFE Students Win Big in Engineering Competition

Two EFE Programs at K-Central Took Honors in U of M Contest

Kalamazoo-area students snagged eight awards for their efforts designing a fully-functional lightweight vehicle and a self-driving vehicle for the 2016 Innovative Vehicle Design Mobility Challenge Competition held May 14 in Ann Arbor.

The Education for Employment Drafting and Design Technology students competed in the Full Scale Innovative Design competition, taking first place in the Figure 8 event at 4.19 miles, presentation, and the Square One Award for overall excellence, and second place for engineering and craftsmanship. The EFE Electronics and Robotics class took first place in presentation, vehicle performance, and Brose Mechatronics for their work on a self-driving vehicle. They received second prize in design and innovation.

Both classes are housed at Kalamazoo Central High School.

The Drafting and Design students had to design, engineer and build a fully functional one-person vehicle, while taking into consideration elements such as safety, body styling, and driver comforts. A specific challenge for this year’s competition was to make the vehicle as light as possible. The team was coached by teacher Marvin Gage.

Loy Norrix student Jeremy Frey drove the vehicle during the Figure 8 portion of the challenge.

“The car was amazing,” Frey said. “The stability was reassuring, the steering was precise and the brake was very responsive. I felt confident after driving the Figure 8 competition, the team and I had given it our all.”

His teammate Ben Holmes said, “After finishing the competition, it felt great, like if we were the first to win the Indy 500 — except at only 25 MPH. It didn’t matter if we won or lost all that mattered then was the feeling that we did it together as a team and gave it our best.”

The Drafting and Design team consisted of Frey, Holmes, and Holmes’ fellow K-Central students: Jackson Russcher, Frederick Miller, Cody Smith, Ari Mohmand, Mohamed Bzizi, Triston Hunt and Brandon Howard. Assisting the team with welding, was Mitch Taber, a K-Central graduate who is studying welding at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

The members of the Electronics and Robotics team from Kalamazoo Central were: Chris Ngyuen, Karley Reed, Mitchell Stevens, Sydney Bodzianowski, and Joe van den Hombergh. Other students on the team from across the county are: Dharma Fry and Brendon Murray from Galesburg High School; Nick Meszaos from Hackett Catholic Central; Suhail Turkistani and Josh Loebig from Portage Central; Zack Wellmah from Portage Northern; and Jared Lynch from Schoolcraft.

This was the first year for EFE to compete in the autonomous vehicle competition — previously they helped the drafting and design team with their electronics.

Teacher Kenneth Briggs said the students used the body of a drivable child’s toy car and installed it with a programmable controller. The students then programmed the car to complete several tasks, such as parallel parking, navigating a maze, driving in a straight line, and stopping if an object passes in front of it.

The students also had to outfit the vehicle with items such as a servo motor to control the steering, a gyro sensor to detect angular movement, distance sensors to measure how close it was to other objects, and a color sensor to monitor stoplights.

“It was great to see see the kids do this together and work as a team,” Briggs said.

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