16 May 2019
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Research Project inspires student to explore impact of autonomous vehicles

When Mohammad started his Year 12 Research Project he didn’t expect it turn out like this.

Mohammad was born in Iran and has lived in Australia for five years, he commenced his schooling at St Michael’s College in Year 9. With the current media attention focussing on autonomous vehicles and Mohammad’s keen interest in the topic, Mohammad decided to focus his Year 12 Research Project on the question “To what extent is autonomous driving currently being used and how much has it impacted on society?"

Mohammad’s Research Project couldn’t have been timed better with Olli, a 3D printed, autonomous vehicle created by Local Motors currently being trialled in Adelaide, travelling from Moseley Square to the Broadway Kiosk. Local Motors, founded in 2007, is a ground mobility company with a belief in open collaboration and co-creation. Its parent company, LM Industries, is the world’s first digital vehicle manufacturer and sister company, Launch-Forth, invites more than 200,000 community members to participate in challenges by submitting ideas on its crowd-powered software.

When Mohammad reached out to the Australian and Asia Pacific representative, Rafael Toda, it turned out that Rafael is actually an old scholar of St Michael’s College from the Class of 1975. A bond was immediately established between the two and this has led to Rafael inviting him and some other keen St Michael’s students to trial Olli.

“It is very heartening to see schools recognising these mobility trends and encouraging students to think about how this would impact on their lives in the future. It becomes especially gratifying for an old scholar like me when one of those schools is my own,” says Rafael.

Year 12 student Mohammad was very grateful for Rafael’s generous support of his project.

“Riding on Olli with Rafael was a great experience and I gained excellent information about how automated transport could impact on society. In particular, it was interesting to learn that Olli has features to support blind passengers with its voice interaction. The information will be very valuable for my final report," says Mohammad.

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