Written By: the University of Waterloo EcoCAR Team
Every year, Canada hosts one of the most exciting events in the automotive industry and this year was certainly no exception. Located in the Toronto Metro Convention Centre at the heart of downtown Toronto, the 2019 International Auto Show (IAS) was a hotspot for industry professionals and amateur car aficionados alike. It was here that our team took to the stage to share how UWAFT is on the leading edge of innovation in the automotive industry. Through their participation at the auto show, our team was able to develop a greater understanding of how strategies in the automotive industry are evolving to include electrical vehicles (EVs), Autonomous vehicles (AV’S), and hybrids, among other driving intelligence technologies.
The day began at the Toronto Star booth, where four of UWAFT’s leaders; including the team’s Communications manager, Connected & Automated Vehicles’ team lead, Engineering Project Manager, and Controls, Modeling & Simulations’ team lead, were interviewed for the Toronto Star’s Live Auto Show panel. The interview covered a variety of topics, from the goals of the previous EcoCAR 3 competition, the time and dedication required to be a member of UWAFT, to the ways UWAFT is working to provide opportunities for students to gain hands on experience in their respective fields.
The team shared how crucial the EcoCAR Challenge is, not only for students, but also the industry at large. The team leads discussed how being a part of UWAFT and the EcoCAR competition allows both graduate and undergraduate students to be better equipped than the average student for their future career paths. UWAFT provides the necessary tools and creative space for engineering students to experiment with new trends in the automotive industry. By having the ability to work with innovative technologies at such an early point in their career paths, UWAFT’s engineering students are becoming the bright minds that will revolutionize the automotive industry. Similarly, UWAFT’s Communications team offers business students experience in marketing, promotional activities, and management, which all help to create tomorrow’s best business leaders. UWAFT’s passion for the current EcoCAR Competition was apparent throughout the entire panel, and the crowd gave an equally energetic round of applause as the interview came to a close.
While the day was one filled with opportunities for both exposure and learning, it was also a day of fun for both the engineering and communications teams. In a bid to engage children and the less car-inclined individuals among the crowds, most manufacturers had interactive displays or booths that anyone could appreciate. From car-focused arcade games, lattes, to even live vehicle demonstrations inside the convention centre, there was never a lack of things to see, do, and taste!
By the end of the day, we were excited to see, the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer, which will ultimately lay the foundation for UWAFT’s future innovations. That’s right, the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer will be UWAFT’s next vehicle in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge! Having spent the day seeing where the future of the automotive industry is heading, it was a great wrap up for our team to see the vehicle that would be paving the way for our own future as well!
Attending the 2019 Canadian International Auto Show was quite the experience and it is one that our team will certainly never forget. Being able to see leading innovations in the industry as well as speak to company representatives provided our team with a wealth of knowledge that we will surely put to use in our future work. There was never a dull moment to be had and while the Auto Show itself was a lot of fun, it was definitely the opportunity to spend a day with our fellow UWAFT teammates and the ability to bond as a team, that kept the smiles on our faces long after the event was over!