A team from the University of Windsor has won the Gordie Howe International Bridge Smart Infrastructure Faceoff.
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) invited post-secondary students studying engineering, information technology, and business administration to take part in the challenge, held on June 3, 2021. They were tasked with developing creative solutions for smart infrastructure technology/smart mobility at the future Gordie Howe International Bridge crossing between Windsor and Detroit within three days of receiving the challenge statement. Participants received mentorship in development of their proposals from WDBA’s own Intelligent Transportation Systems Coordinator, Piebo Zhao.
“The Gordie Howe International Bridge is more than just a border crossing. It is a magnet for economic opportunity, innovation and development in the Windsor-Detroit region,” said WDBA CEO Bryce Phillips. “This event is an example of how organizations like AVIN are partnering with WDBA in exploring creative ways to leverage this iconic project for the economic benefit of the region.”
A total of ten student teams submitted detailed proposals accompanied by short videos. Short-listed teams were given the opportunity to present their solutions during the half-day virtual session that also included presentations and panel discussions with government and industry leaders. The event was designed to help students navigate potential career paths in smart mobility and smart infrastructure.
Each entry was judged against the following criteria: originality, execution and usefulness.
Dhwani Shah, Umair Durrani and Haesung Ahn representing the University of Windsor, won the challenge and the $1,200 top prize for the idea of a Gordie Howe International Bridge app. Their solution examined how a mobile app could track trip registration and predict traffic demand using machine learning and smart mobility.
Second place and $600 in prize money went to Ryder Leblanc and Evan Skjel from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario for their presentation titled “Autonomous Truck Platoon Screening on the Gordie Howe International Bridge.”
The third place award of $300 went to Nikunj Vadsak and Vivek Siwach from the University of Windsor for their presentation titled “Promoting smart mobility infrastructure through a combination of modern technologies and green initiatives.”
Leslie Martin, WDBA’s Executive Vice President of Engineering and Operations, was one of the judges for the event.
“I was thoroughly impressed by the creative and innovative solutions put forward by the students. While it was difficult to select a winner from so many worthwhile proposals, it is inspiring to see a modern and enterprising mindset from our youth,” said Martin.
In addition to the cash prize, the winning team of Shah, Durrani and Ahn will also have the opportunity to be mentored by an industry leader.
The prize sponsors for the event were Blackberry QNX, Invest WindsorEssex and the University of Windsor. The event was also made possible through the support of the Ontario Centre of Innovation.
AVIN is Ontario’s leading initiative on automotive and smart mobility technologies, which aligns with WDBA’s mandate for creating a seamless border crossing. In delivering on this mandate, WDBA must employ the latest technologies and be cognizant of emerging technologies that would make a seamless crossing more effective. WDBA believes in active community engagement and stakeholder engagement. Fostering partnerships with educational institutions and organizations such as AVIN, is important to providing opportunities to engage students with the project and this event was another example of that.