Normally the education and training center at Audi is a hive of activity during the “Jugend forscht” and “Schüler experimentieren”competitions. Normally, inquisitive children and young people present their research projects to the members of the jury live, on-site and in color. Normally … as a consequence of the pandemic, much is different in 2021 – and the competition has moved into the digital sphere completely. However, one thing remains unchanged and as strong as before: the interest of young people in exciting future topics. A total of 44 projects were submitted in recent weeks by 66 school pupils who took part in one of the two competitions in the region. Audi, too, is entering its creative minds for the contest: four apprentices have demonstrated their inventive ideas in two promising projects.
Two projects by Audi apprentices: from a car seat that generates energy to blacklight headlamps that make road markings stand out
Audi research team number one consists of Jonas Huber and Tim Vollmeier – both of whom are training in the field of mechatronics. They noticed that drivers often move during a journey by car, change their seating position or produce increased pressure on the seat when driving through bends. “We want to make use of this energy,” says Jonas Huber. The duo use so-called piezoelectric crystals, which are installed beneath the car seat and convert energy that would otherwise be lost into an electric current. According to Huber and Vollmeier, “This energy could be fed into the batteries of an electric car in order to increase its range.” Alexander Pfefferle and Tim Mansen, both of whom are in their second year of training in automotive mechatronics, are the second young research team for the Four Rings. They have developed blacklight headlamps. These special headlamps are not intended to replacethe full-beam light but to support the driver by, for example, making the road markings stand out – when driving at night, above all.
Marco Reich, head of Vocational Training and Coordination of Dual Study Courses at Audi, says “With their projects, our four apprentices are impressively demonstrating that it is the people at Audi who live our technological leadership, ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, and that this is only possible thanks to their creative ideas. We are proud of them and of the fact that the Four Rings are once again hosting the competitions ‘Jugend forscht’ and ‘Schüler experimentieren’ in 2021. Bernhard Laux, who heads the competition for the regional deciding round of “Jugend forscht” in Ingolstadt, adds, “With these two competitions we aim to promote young talent in the fields of mathematics, information technology, natural science and technology. I am especially pleased that so many young researchers have taken their projects to the stage that they can enter the competition, in spite of all difficulties caused by the pandemic. This achievement alone deserves full recognition. The whole jury is greatly looking forward to the creative presentations of the individual research projects, which unfortunately can only take place online this year. Afterwards we will assess the projects in the jury sessions and choose the prize-winners.”
More about Youth Research and Pupils Experiment in 2021
In November 2020 Germany’s best-known youth talent competition invited young researchers to submit their projects. The motto of the contest this year is “Lass Zukunft da” (“Leave Future There”) – see www.jugend-forscht.de for further information. The aim of “Jugend forscht” and “Schüler experimentieren” is to encourage children and young people to take on the challenge of “carrying out a research project themselves and thus taking responsibility for the future of our planet,” in the words of the organizers. In view of this, the task for all young researchers is to “be curious and inventive, develop your own ideas and solutions for tomorrow’s world.” Specially for this event, the foundation Jugend forscht e.V. is making available an online platform on which participants can present their projects by video conference in 20-minute slots.
The winners of the regional contest in early March will then compete at state level. The successful children and young people up to the age of 14 qualify to enter the Bavarian round of “Schüler experimentieren”, which will be held on 25 and 26 March, also in purely virtual form. Young people between the ages of 15 and 21 who progress into the next round will make their presentations for “Jugend forscht” on 24 and 25 March. Those who come out as winners in Bavaria can then participate in the national contest, which is planned from 27 to 30 May.