Children at eight Carmarthenshire schools will soon start work on manufacturing 3D printed, battery driven cars, culminating in a grand prix style race.
Teams from each participating school will be tasked with printing, assembling, painting and testing the cars before they go head to head in an event earmarked for Carmarthen Park’s velodrome.
Schools taking part include Ysgol Gynradd Nantgaredig, Ysgol y Dderwen, Ysgol Teilo Sant, Ysgol Llanybydder, Ysgol Llanllwni, Ysgol Carreg Hirfaen, Ysgol y Bedol and Ysgol Peniel.
Each car, based on a Daniel Norée design and adopted by major manufacturers, will be managed by local car dealerships.
Participating children will be asked to design advertising banners and team shirts, secure advertising space for event programmes, negotiate with car dealerships about advertising, and raise awareness of the race.
The scheme is being led by Swansea University’s College of Engineering, in partnership with Ysgol Gynradd Nantgaredig and Carmarthenshire Council.
Tesco, Carmarthen Town Council and the Royal Society Scientific Academy are confirmed as event sponsors.
Dr Dimitris Pletsas, from Swansea University’s College of Engineering, said:
“Manufacturing across the world will experience major changes in coming years, with the use of more and more 3D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics. This is why a Factory of the Future project is one of 11 due to be part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal, as we look to prepare for the changes by future-proofing the regional manufacturing industry.
“As well as teaching children from participating schools key skills in team-working, problem-solving and marketing, the 3D printed car race will also give them knowledge in innovative design, manufacturing and engineering techniques that will stand them in good stead for the future.
“With the City Deal due to create close to 10,000 new, high-quality jobs in the next 15 years, it’s crucial we equip our children with the skills and motivation necessary to access these employment opportunities. Projects like this will complement everything Carmarthenshire Council is doing to put a Skills and Talent initiative in place to support each City Deal project.”
Tiny cameras will be added to the cars for viewing and replays, with drone footage planned to give a bird’s eye view of the race on the day. It‘s also hoped cutting-edge technologies like virtual reality navigation, online streaming, and radio frequency bandwidth extensions can be incorporated in future.
Every school taking part will have a pits area at the velodrome where garages which are sponsoring the cars can have their latest models on display.
The family-friendly race event, a key representation of the successful promotion of science and innovation in schools throughout west Wales, is expected to attract high visitor numbers.