Open Innovation Car Contest Rewards Novel Concepts

Published Sep-19-16

Breakthrough:
New algorithms for better vehicle detection systems for driver-less cars and a redesign of a car’s windshield to provide a panoramic view of the rear.

Company:
Valeo, France

The Story:

Open Innovation Car Contest Rewards Novel Concepts The field of automotive technology never stops as the auto industry is constantly reinventing its offerings, bringing us new technologies that enhance fuel efficiency, our safety and the driving experience among other things.

There's no let up on the gas pedal when it comes to innovation, and the car of the future is always around the next bend. What it will look like, how it will handle and the benefits it may bring are anybody's guess.

To encourage creative students with an interest in car technology, automotive supplier Valeo launched the Valeo Innovation Challenge 2015. The global open innovation contest sought ideas to make the next generation of cars smarter and more intuitive.

Participants were encouraged to form multidisciplinary teams to work on their concepts. They hailed from 89 countries and 1,037 universities, and formed 1,325 teams. The countries with the most teams were India with 436 and Egypt with 126. Their submissions were assessed by a jury that included Valeo's CEO and directors as well as external experts.

Following their deliberations, a handful of teams went into the second phase of the contest. Each one was given a few thousand euros to design and test their prototype. Eventually, six finalist teams were selected to pitch their ideas to the jury.

Three Winners Announced

The overall winner was Team FalconView from China, picking up a check for 100,000 euros (approximately USD 130,000). Based on a belief that the car of the future could well be driver-less, they proposed a system that makes vehicle detection systems more affordable and more comfortable for people. They didn’t go down the laser route, instead they developed a wheel-based system with cameras that’s guided by algorithms that mimic how humans perceive their surroundings.

Team members plan to invest some of their winnings into pursuing their innovative idea. "The most exciting thing about winning the Valeo Innovation Challenge is that now we can really make our idea into a reality," said team leader Yongkun Fang.

In second place was Team M.A.D. from the Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education in India, picking up a prize of 10,000 euros (approximately USD 13,000). On average, more than one million people are killed on the world's roads every year, so the team set out to see if they could use technology to reduce the number of crashes. Their concept was a collision warning system for vehicles based on existing satellite systems and a new, dedicated mobile app.

Tying in second place and also winning 10,000 euros was Team Auto Gen Z from Saarland University in Germany. Their idea was for a safety windshield system that doesn't have a rear-view mirror. Instead, a panoramic rear view is provided on the top of the windshield. According to the students, this will help to eliminate blind spots and give drivers a better sense of their surroundings.

The team believes their concept can be incorporated into cars currently on the road and can envisage it being a standard part of vehicles in five years’ time.

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