Engineering Team from the University of Sheffield Makes it to the Final of the Engineers in Business Innovation Competition
Led by twenty-year-old Aerospace Engineering student Joel Rogers, a team of engineering students from the University of Sheffield has secured a place in the final of the Engineers in Business Champion of Champions innovation competition, which will be hosted by TV presenter Rob Bell at the Royal Academy of Engineering on 22 October 2021.
Joel is joined by 21-year-old Computer Science student Chelsie Edun, 21-one-year-old General Engineering student Ellie Giulietti, 21-one-year-old Chemical Engineering student Shady Hamed, and 22-year-old Structural Engineering & Architecture student Jonathan Moniz, all of whom are co-founders of the venture Cycles 2 Vehicles (C2V).
The C2V team has invented EyeCycle, an AI-driven roadside camera designed to detect cyclists and alerts motorists of their presence and avoid accidents. C2V will be pitching its innovation against nine other teams of student and graduate innovators in the national final. A total sum of £15,000 is up for grabs, providing vital seed money to help the winners develop their innovation. The winners will also receive mentoring from business leaders who are members of the Sainsbury Management Fellows network, plus CV packages from Purple CV and entrepreneurial books from Cambridge University Press.
The competition is sponsored by the registered charity, Engineers in Business Fellowship which champions business education for engineers and supports universities by giving them grants to award prizes to students who develop ground-breaking ideas. The grants enable universities to inspire more engineering and technology students and post-graduates to participate in innovation and entrepreneurship, skills that they take into their careers. The world is changing rapidly, and these skills are vital to tackle challenging global problems.
EyeCycle – A Second Pair of Eyes for Car Drivers Powered by AI
EyeCycle offers a multidisciplinary approach to cycle safety. C2V has designed infrastructure which detects a cyclist and alerts the car driver of the cyclist, hence reducing accidents at junctions. An artificial intelligence (AI) camera is placed at a junction with a blind turn or low visibility, detects a cyclist through various training, and sends a signal to a road sign to get the attention of the driver to raise awareness of cyclists and reduce the likelihood of collisions.
EyeCycle keeps cyclists safe without the need for the car driver to do anything new, just to follow road signs as before. Joel Rogers explains more about the inspiration behind EyeCycle: “When we originally set out to create an innovation that would help to improve cycle safety on our roads, we came across a shocking statistic that almost two-thirds of incidents where a cyclist is killed or seriously injured occurs at or within twenty metres of a junction. We decided that dangerous junctions would be the key area for our innovation to tackle. With EyeCycle, we hope to vastly reduce the number of cyclists killed and injured on our roads, not only within the UK but across the globe. We also aim to revolutionise attitudes towards cycling as well as encourage more people to take up cycling as a sustainable method of travel.
“As we’ve discovered during the last couple of months working on EyeCycle, business skills are very important. They’ve helped us analyse the problems with the project from different perspectives. Without the business skills to accompany an innovation, you lose the ability to market a product to the wider market.”
The Awards Presentation Ceremony – 22 October 2021
The live online dragons’ den style competition will be compered by TV presenter, Rob Bell. Competing against nine other teams, Joel and his team will have six minutes to convince the judges, through their presentation and Q&A session, that they should be crowned a Champion of Champions and take home a cash prize of between £1,500 and £8,500 depending on the award or awards received! Amongst other criteria, the judges will be assessing the potential impact of EyeCycle on cycle and wider road safety.
The members of the judging panel are:
- Dr Andy Phillipps, Entrepreneur and early-stage tech investor and venture capitalist
- Ana Avaliani, Director of Enterprise and Sustainable Development, Royal Academy of Engineering
- Dr Jeroen Bergmann, Associate Professor of Engineering Science, University of Oxford
- Serge Taborin, Government Digital Transformation, Amazon Web Services
Joel and his team will be competing for an Engineers in Business Champion of Champions title against nine other teams from Aberystwyth University, University of Birmingham, University of Exeter, University of Aberdeen, Imperial College London, Nottingham Trent University, University of Nottingham, University of Portsmouth, and the University of York.
Commenting on the importance of reaching the Engineers in Business Champion of Champions Final Joel said, “We are all extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity. We’re excited to promote our project to a wider audience in the hope of gaining more support for our innovation. We believe the cash prize offered could also help to fully launch our project into action. The finalists’ coaching day allowed us to discuss our project with other teams and take advice from people with new perspectives. These things combined are advantageous to C2V as we are in our very early stages of development.”