A unique STEM summer day camp for high school students at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research provided a perfect setting this week for future engineers to learn more about the latest trends in the automotive and mobility industries.

“The automotive industry is currently experiencing an evolution at the convergence of autonomous systems, electric vehicles and rideshare technologies,” said David Cooke, Assistant Director of the Ohio State Center for Automotive Research.

“This summer camp, supported by Ohio State, Honda and Engie, gives us a chance to teach the next generation of engineers about exciting careers in mobility and to support STEM education,” said Cooke.

Camp CAR brought high school students from the Columbus area, around Ohio and across the nation to Ohio State, and included tours at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Honda Heritage Center in Marysville, and Smart Columbus Experience Center.

Students worked with Ohio State faculty, sitting in on presentations by researchers, while exploring career opportunities in mobility and engineering.

The eager group of future engineers focused on electric vehicles and Smart Cars that are fuel efficient and safer. Fuel-saving technology reduces harmful emissions that trigger air quality alerts and warm the lower atmosphere.

Autonomous cars and “connected vehicles” talk to each other and communicate with city infrastructure, such as changing traffic lights, and knowing when an emergency vehicle is approaching.

“We wanted to expose students to a variety of experiences at camp,” said Colleen Herr, CAR’s Marketing and Communications Specialist at Ohio State.

Herr said that students tested engines in the laboratory and gained experience in welding. Camp-goers also programmed vehicle simulations and studied advanced driver assistance systems.

The students observed technology in automated cars that “drive themselves navigating complex urban and highway traffic,” said Herr.

Columbus won a Smart City Challenge grant in 2016, after competing against 77 cities across the country. The city received $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation and another $10 million from Vulcan, Inc. to foster safety and environmentally-friendly technologies.