Irish students explore the possibilities of driverless ambulances

The students are showcasing their work at Science Gallery Dublin today

We've heard quite a bit about driverless cars and how technology is transforming the motoring sector. Third-year students at Trinity College Dublin have been working to explore and develop novel concept applications for autonomous vehicles and the fruits of their labour are being showcased at Science Gallery Dublin today. 

Students enrolled in the 'Engineering with Management' course at TCD were presented with a design brief back in October 2016. They have been developing their concepts and prototypes as part of a year-long course in Engineering design. 

Some of the innovations featured by each team include:
 
Public transport team: Developed an autonomous bus concept that could pick-up elderly people from their door. In addition, they redesigned the door for improved accessibility for the mobility impaired and the seating arrangement. 
 
Emergency response team: Developed an autonomous ambulance concept that could achieve significantly faster response times than current systems. This concept has special relevance in rural areas where response times are especially low. Other innovations include an expandable rear cabin where patients can be treated remotely by doctors based in a nearby hospital

Logistics team: Developed a concept for autonomously transporting airplanes on runways. The proposed solution offers major cost savings, safety improvements and energy savings (less burnt fuel when airplane is waiting).

Sports car team: Developed a sports car concept that was accessible for people with disabilities as sports cars are traditionally very inaccessible. They also developed a novel wheel system that eliminates the need for a conventional suspension. 
 
CAD diagram showing the body/shell fitted to the autonomous ambulance prototype. One of the key features of the concept is an expandable rear compartment where patients can be treated by doctors remotely.
 
Organiser Conor McGinn explained the purpose of the event to Newstalk.com what it's all about. 
 
"The concepts address emerging opportunities in the areas of public transport, emergency response, logistics and sports car technology. These projects have been designed to challenge students on three key fronts", explains McGinn. "It requires developing a design concept that addresses an identified need or opportunity, designing a complex prototype involving mechanical engineering, electronics and programming and communicating their work."
 
Further details can be found here