If there's anything that can inspire kids to pay more attention in science class, it's robots. Cars are potentially a close second — which is why the hands-on 'Ford Fuels Innovation' event touring Australian schools seems perfectly on track to achieve its goal.
With the launch of its new Everest SUV and classic Mustang — both partially developed in Australia — Ford is taking time out to remind the country that the automotive industry in Australia isn't dead yet. It's travelling the country throughout October and November, hoping to meet and inspire the future innovators who may well help designing the next generation of Ford cars. "We want to inspire the innovative minds who could be part of the next generation of Ford employees by investing even more in community programs and STEM education," says Graeme Whickman, Ford Australia's CEO and President.
Ford's new models both feature the semi-autonomous technology that has seen a sharp rise in popularity in recent years, with automatic crash avoidance and sensor-based driver assist technology. Similar tech has been condensed into a much smaller form for school students to build and design robots with — with the help of a little Lego to construct the body of the remote-controlled bots. The construction process for one of the miniature robots is intended to mirror that of the full sized vehicles, with the show helping to teach both kids and their parents just what goes into the cars they drive (or will drive in the future) every day. The sessions will finish up with a competition where the students race their robots through a miniature obstacle course, with every run of the course triggering a $10 donation to FIRST Robotics — with the aim to eventually donate $50,000 to the foundation by the end of the program.
The tour kicked off in September in Melbourne, and will continue on to schools and robotics competitions throughout Victoria and NSW towards the end of the year.