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ENG students to attend Audi summer workshop abroad

Two students from Boston University’s College of Engineering will travel overseas to participate in a six-week long workshop with the Audi Auto Group.

Alex Patow and Brian Nam, both ENG juniors, will participate in the Future of Mobility Program, located at the Audi AG Headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, to explore solutions to potential issues with transportation and living in cities.

“The program is meant to help tackle the urban population dilemma,” Nam said. “By about 2030, about 60 percent of the population will be living in big cities. There will be a larger need for cars and fuel, and gas prices are going to go way up. At the end of the day what they’re hoping to do with the program is to find efficient transportation for everyone.”

Students participating in the program will study the potential future of automotive use in large cities by examining the development of technology in the industry, said Brad Stertz, a spokesman for Audi of America.

“Twelve students will explore innovative concepts of how cars will be used in more densely packed and chaotic urban environments expected to arise in the next generation,” Stertz said. “The goal of the program is to investigate future automotive opportunities in topics as wide ranging as big data, sensors, electric vehicles, safety engineering and urban planning.”

Patow said he became attracted to the program for its location in the world capital of automotive production.

“I thought it [the practicum] would be the perfect opportunity,” he said. “Not only was it in Germany, it was also with one of the most innovative companies in automotive design, and the internship was centered around solving global problems.”

Audi developed the program for American college students as an opportunity to gain experience with expert engineers as well as gain a youthful insight, Stertz said.

“We [Audi] wanted … to develop more fresh perspectives from American university students, so we created the practicum,” he said. “The goal of the practicum, the workshop in Germany, is to allow the students hands-on experience with Audi engineers in addressing possible transportation problems that Audi sees arising in the future.”

The recruitment process involved the engineers at Audi seeking out promising talent with bold ideas and a solid work ethic, Stertz said.

“The engineers directly working on these projects were the ones who looked through the different applicants,” he said. “They really chose the people who had some creative ideas and also a bit of a skill set in the different areas that would be applied … from data to engineering to urban planning and that kind of stuff.”

Among the new automotive technologies, participants at Audi will explore are cars that interact with their owners by catering to their time management, Stertz said.

“Your car would be able to interact with your calendar and know the things you have to do. It would tell you that you have a meeting at [9 a.m.] in downtown Los Angeles,” he said. “[It will tell you] he shortest, safest, most efficient route in and where to park based on your preferences for parking.”

Patow said having the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of talented participants makes the program an enriching one.

“All of the participants come with very different backgrounds, which will be great for collaboration,” he said. “Engaging with the designers and engineers at Audi will be an incredible opportunity to learn from their expertise.”

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