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AUS engineering freshmen compete to build the lightest motorless car
Almost 300 engineering freshmen competed to build the lightest motorless car that could cross a 10-meter track in the shortest time during the NGN 110 Introduction to Engineering and Computing Competition, held yesterday, May 15, at American University of Sharjah (AUS).
The competition, in its thirteenth edition, is part of the first-year course Introduction to Engineering and Computing (NGN 110) taken by all AUS College of Engineering students with the purpose of helping students enhance their teamwork, engineering design, problem solving, time management and communication skills.
This semester's NGN 110 competition focused on building a light motorless car that could cross a track 10 meters long and one meter wide. Students had to use basic materials such as toothpicks, water bottles, cardboard or paper to build the cars, which were to be powered by balloons, rubber bands or propellers. To win, a car had to have the lowest total sum of the time it took to complete the course (in seconds) and its weight (in grams) added together. The students were divided into 60 groups.
The winning car weighed 64.5 grams and crossed the track in 7.8 seconds, with a total of 72.3 points which was less than the total of the other groups. Members of the first-place winning team were Alyaa Aldosari (chemical engineering), Maryam Al Nabulsi (civil engineering), Anfal Ali (electrical engineering), Nour Sobh (industrial engineering) and Heba Al-Himairee (industrial engineering). The second runners-up achieved a total of 81.3, while the third runners-up managed to get a total of 81.5.
"This competition is vital to the early education of young engineering students. It is hands-on, it is team building, it is ethics development, it is friendship making. Plus, the project is always one that has a purpose related to understanding and designing to meet the needs of our society at large. We in the College of Engineering are very proud of the accomplishments of all the students, faculty and volunteers involved in the competition," said Dr. Leland T. Blank, Dean of the AUS College of Engineering.
According to Dr. Fadi Ahmed Aloul, Professor of Computer Engineering and organizer of the event, "In the past, AUS students worked on different projects, but we realized that a competition with awards will add incentive and motivation in students. This has ultimately allowed students to present creative ideas and led to interesting results. The aim of the competition is to allow students to be motivated and creative."
Students from all seven undergraduate degree programs offered by the AUS College of Engineering participated in the competition. The college offers bachelor of science degree programs in chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering.
Neda Pourebra, an AUS freshman majoring in industrial engineering, said, "This semester's competition allowed students to open their minds and work on an interesting project from scratch. They have managed to be creative and think of ways to win. We are very thankful to AUS for giving us this opportunity to expand our creativity."
In previous competitions, students were required to build design and construct small-scale bridges, tower cranes, helicopters, boats and paper planes among other structures.
The competition judges were Dr. Khaled El-Fakih, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Aqeel Ahmed, Instructor in the Department of Civil Engineering; and Dr. Mahmoud Ibrahim, Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. The event was attended by several AUS officials.