Driverless car challenge inspires future careers - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Driverless car challenge inspires future careers

1 Dec 2020

USC is giving Year 7s from Gympie the chance to build and program a self-driving model car as part of a program to help prepare young students for high-tech jobs of the future.

More than 20 students are taking part in USC’s Make, Integrate, Explore (MIE) School program across two days at Mary Valley State College on 1-2 December.

Using gadgets such as electrical circuits and sensors, the students will design and assemble motorised autonomous model cars and develop coding and algorithms to program the vehicles to navigate a maze.

The activity is designed to give students an understanding of what designing and programming a real self-driving car would be like.

At the end of the session, they will present their models to a judging panel made up of USC academics and industry experts from the Gympie region.

USC has developed the novel MIE School program to provide school students with opportunities to undertake science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) activities which are linked to the Australian school curriculum.

USC Associate Lecturer in Education Natalie McMaster said the concept used engaging, hands-on technology to encourage students to develop skillsets in tune with the digital age.

“With the increasing role of technology in the workplace and in the future, experiences such as this help prepare young students for jobs that don’t exist yet,” she said.

“We are encouraging them to imagine and consider future careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics,” Ms McMaster said.

MIE School is partly funded though the Australian Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program which aims to increase participation in tertiary education.

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