Project Introduction


Welcome to the CDIO Academy, taking place at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Canada from June 18 – 21, 2017.

50 undergraduate engineering students from all over the world will work together to research, design, and pitch their answer to a question that is strongly related to the conference theme, Engineering Education in the Digital Age.

The question being asked at the 2017 CDIO Academy is:


           What is the biggest challenge facing autonomous vehicles, and what may a solution be?


There are an estimated 1.2 billion cars in the world today, with 2 billion possible by 2035. The automotive industry works hard to innovate upon their designs, and are constantly trying to make vehicles safer, faster, more efficient, and more luxurious. One of the most interesting upcoming advancements for the automotive industry is the rise of autonomous vehicles.  An autonomous vehicle is capable of navigating without a human driver by sensing its environment and making driving decisions.

 There has been much progress made in autonomous vehicles in the past few years. However, there are various barriers and challenges that autonomous vehicles face. These may be technological concerns, such as the precision and accuracy of sensors to keep the car in its lane. There are also factors beyond the technological limitations. These barriers may be ethical (such as the possibility of autonomous cars being ‘hacked’), legal (who is liable if an autonomous vehicle gets in an accident), economical (costly to produce and maintain), and social (people enjoying driving their cars and would not want to give that up).


Competition format


CDIO Academy 2017 will have three components: pre-assignments, Academy Design Camp, and a pitching competition.


1.  Pre-assignments

In order to facilitate strong discussion during the Academy, participants are expected to complete some pre-assignments before coming to Calgary and working in a team. These assignments will be in the form of online blog posts. These assignments are a mix of research activities to facilitate brainstorming for the topic, as well as teamwork assessments which will enhance the experience of students once they are put onto teams in Calgary. Participants are encouraged to work individually, as they will be splitting into teams once they are all together in Calgary.  These assignments will be checked for completion by Academy organizers, who will comment on work done and provide feedback for participants. For every assignment, participants must comment on at least one other student’s blog and give feedback regarding the work done.

More information about these assignments will be posted on the “Pre-assignment” page by April 17th, 2017.


2.  Academy Design Camp


The Academy Design Camp will begin with icebreaking and team formation. Then, teams will formulate their answer to the project question, using ideation, collaboration, and research. Teams will then use Lego Mindstorms to create a mock-up or demo of their chosen challenge. Finally, teams will use their mock-ups and previous research to put together a persuasive presentation of their answer to the guiding question.


3.  Pitching Competition


Each team will perform their pitch in front of the Academy teams and judges. The winning team will also present to the International CDIO Conference attendees.


Evaluation criteria:


  • Relevance to overall design question - justification (evidence and arguments) provided to support argument for the relevance of the challenge identified
  • Demonstrates the Conceive, Design, Implement, and Operate steps
  • Potential for practical application (realistic and degree of practicality and arguments and evidence provided to support the - practicality - is it a good engineering solution?), benefits and drawbacks
  • Demonstrates deep research into the issue and the consideration of different points of view
  • How effectively was LEGO Mindstorms and other visual aids incorporated in the presentation? Use of the Lego Mindstorms demo to strengthen presentation
  • Evidence of effective teamwork
  • Creativity and innovation in chosen topic
  • Oral communication skills and presentation aesthetics