APU wins Shell Selamat Sampai Varsity Challenge 2023

  • Project aims to enhance motorcycle safety, address critical road safety issues
  • Victory marks the 1st for a private uni in a competition dominated by public unis

Team APU with Prof. Dr. Azlinda binti Azman, director-general of Higher Education from the Ministry of Higher Education (third from left), Cindy Lopez, general manager of Corporate Relations, Shell Malaysia (fourth from left) and Dr. Lau Chee Yong, their mentor lecturer from SoE, APU (first from right).

Shell's road safety programme for tertiary education students, the Shell Selamat Sampai Varsity Challenge, concluded on December 7, 2023, in Kuala Lumpur. Themed 'Innovate! Captivate! Safe Lives!', the challenge aimed to empower Malaysian university and college students to propose innovative STEM solutions for road safety.

Team APU from Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) emerged as the grand winner, presenting their project, Guardian Defense Unit (G.D.U). The project focuses on preventing accidents and reducing injury severity in motorcycle transportation, addressing critical road safety issues.

According to the winning team, G.D.U plays an essential role in enhancing motorcycle safety, making transportation safer for everyone. The team comprised Aaron Raj Bhatti and Cajun Tai Ka Joon, studying for a Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering, along with Ronak Robert Vijai who graduated from the said programme, and Sharen Chrisan Fabian Perera, a Diploma in Electric and Electronic Engineering student.

Mentored by Dr. Lau Chee Yong, senior lecturer at APU's School of Engineering, the team brought diverse skills to the project, including coding, CAD drawing, hardware integration, and an entrepreneurial mindset. 

The Guardian Defense Unit is a motorcycle rear blind spot detection system, inspired by real-life accidents. The project uses a Robotic Operating System  to create a framework integrated with a 2D Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) module placed on top of the motorcycle's number plate. The LiDAR detects objects within a threshold range, and LEDs change colours (blue for warning, green for danger) to alert the rider. 

Aaron Raj Bhatti, the group leader, emphasised the importance of their project in saving lives, as he stated "The project was inspired by a real-life accident that I faced. Hence we worked on a project to help mitigate potential accidents for other road users."

Team APU's victory marks a significant achievement, being the first from a private university to win the competition traditionally dominated by public universities. The team received a cash prize of US$2,100 (RM10,000), individual champion medals, and a champion trophy.

Lau expressed pride in their success, stating, "Winning the Shell Selamat Sampai Varsity Challenge is a big achievement that will significantly enhance the team’s knowledge and skills while charting a promising career trajectory."

“This victory showcases their adeptness in addressing real-world challenges, emphasising not just technical proficiency but also critical problem-solving and teamwork. The multidisciplinary nature of the competition has equipped them with a holistic approach to problem-solving, fostering adaptability and effective communication,” he added

The 2023 grand finale was judged by a panel of individuals, including experts from the Ministry of Higher Education, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, and Shell Malaysia's High-Risk Transport Road Safety Advisor.

The challenge, which began with a video proposal submission, involved a 12-week project development phase, a virtual boot camp, and judging sessions, with the theme focused on leveraging STEM to address road safety challenges.

Team APU was one of the five finalist teams that competed against students from Universiti Malaya, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka.

The success of the team highlights the potential for private institutions to excel in road safety innovations. The G.D.U’s recognition opens doors for new opportunities and solidifies the team's commitment to excellence and innovation in the field of road safety and transportation.

 

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