Siemens has uncovered engineering, technology and business talent from Manchester through a competition to design the smart and sustainable transport system of the future.

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SustainaCity Racer challenged 50 bright sparks from 15 universities across the UK, including the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, to design an intelligent, sustainable and interconnected network for a fictional city region, using a variety of transport types for citizens living in different environments.

At the end of the two-day hackathon-style event 22 students and graduates were offered access to early career opportunities with Manchester-based Siemens’ Digital Industries, Smart Infrastructure, and Mobility businesses.

They included Jake Sawyer, studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Viviana Nicole Pazos Puente, studying a MSc in Advanced Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Manchester.

Jake was part of the winning team, Eco Made Easy which proposed using a hyperloop tunnel and hydrofoil water vessel as the main transport, an app using real-time transport data and AI to map fastest, cheapest and most sustainable journeys, and an innovative POD transport which combines rail and bus.

Jake said: “I really enjoyed the experience of working under extreme time constraints with a broad brief which allowed free thinking and radical Innovations allowing me and the team to design state-of-the-art solutions. 

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“Winning the competition gave me confidence that I can work under pressure with unknown quantities to an accurate and high standard. I felt the competition emulated working within a high pressure professional environment, this experience is certainly something I will be thrilled to repeat in the near future.”

Viviana, 24, a member of the runners-up team, said: “This competition was a valuable experience in collaborating in a team of multidisciplinary students with the goal of creating a concept of a system that not only embraces engineering, but also sustainability and management.

“The competition was intense but hugely rewarding and has motivated me to be one of the engineers that will use the most up to date technology to create sustainable solutions to the world’s problems.” 

For the second year running SustainaCity Racer participants were put into hybrid, multidisciplinary teams and challenged to apply engineering, digital and commercial elements to their designs.

Judges for competition included Thomas Edwards from Siemens Digital Industries, Nikhil Patel from Siemens Smart Infrastructure, and Sophie Marshall-Unit, Charbel Khalil, Hannah Surguy, Miles Moran and Ewan Bradley from Siemens Mobility.

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Commenting on the event, Thomas Edwards, Graduate Engineer for Siemens Digital Industries, said: “SustainaCity Racer was launched in 2020 as a way of bringing multi-disciplinary minds together to collaborate to come up with innovative solutions to real-life problems and give students the opportunity to experience things that they may encounter if they worked at Siemens.

“We were extremely impressed with all 50 of the participants and the outstanding ideas they came up with to respond to the task of innovating in a new age of connected mobility that allows people to move more intelligently and sustainably.”

“All the contestants showed exemplary collegiate behaviour and cooperated with their team members in the race to win the top spot. The winners clearly demonstrated superb teamwork and we were particularly impressed with the creation of user stories which meant the needs of passengers were always at the forefront of decision making, leading them to an innovative yet realistic solution that worked for everyone. Their wildcard proposition of a train/pod solution captivated all of the judges.”

For details on all Siemens’ early careers opportunities including internships, apprenticeships and graduate schemes visit https://siemens.co.uk/earlycareers