Monday, 18 August 2014

It might be unthinkable, yet it happened. The
University of Lagos community developed a racing car
which beat many competitors at a global automobile
It is a racing car! It is one that may not be too
common in this part of the world but was conceived,
developed and put to test here and abroad. Known as
Autonov II, the racing car is a brainchild of staff and
students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and has
competed for, and gained fame on the global automobile
Former Minister of Information, who is now Chairman,
Governing Council of UNILAG, Prof. Jerry Gana was on
a visit to the institution recently. And for the
management, there could not have been a better time to
showcase the school’s inherent potentials. In this
regard, Autonov II, UNILAG’s latest exploit in science
and technology came handy.
Fuel-efficient and electronically-powered, the design,
fabrication and running of Autonov II had been funded
solely by Shell Petroleum Plc. The racing car had
participated alongside automobile inventions from other
203 tertiary institutions across the world at a car racing
competition in the Netherlands, emerging the third best
Twenty students and lecturers of the school were said
to have done the bulk of the work on Autonov II. From
the Department of Mechanical Engineering to those of
Creative Arts, Physics, Mass Communication, Electrical/
Electronic and Architecture, the students were
assembled and after a two-month intensive exercise,
Autonov II was developed.
“We started by building the skill-set we needed. We built
the designs, the fraction, the china system and the
body, among others and those who could integrate all
of these together did. Of course, this has to be carried
out by the students. When we finished, we selected the
team we wanted. What we did was to advertise and ask
that students who possess various skills we needed
should indicate by applying. We interviewed them and
selected a team of 20 students which we later pruned,”
Prof. Ikem Owete, leader of the team that manufactured
Autonov II narrated.
The team leaders thereafter asked the selected students
to work differently. The mechanical group worked on the
frame. The material team worked on the body. The
Creative Art student is a sculptor who constructed the
body himself. Students from electrical engineering
worked on the electrical and electronic control. The
team, Prof Owete recalled, had some challenges with
the control a day before the competition. The car simply
stopped working. But by some “miraculous intervention,”
it later began to work.
“One thing I can tell you was that these students from
Electrical Engineering made their own PCVs (positive
crankcase ventilation, an automotive-emission control
valve that recirculates gases through the combustion
chambers to permit more complete combustion)
manually without a machine. They got the chemical, the
drawing on the computer, the components and made
the transfer to the PCVs all on their own. Initially, we
wanted to get an outsider for this but they came to me
and said, ‘Sir, we can do it’ and I said to them, ‘Go
ahead and do it. If you don’t try, you can’t succeed.’
And they did. I am very proud of them. You really need
to see their performance,” Owete said.
UNILAG was not the only Nigerian tertiary institution
that made it to the racing competition. University of
Benin (UNIBEN) also did. But while the UNIBEN
invention could not make it to the track, UNILAG’s
Autonov II did. And out of the 203 schools that
competed, UNILAG was the only one from Africa, aside
the two others that came from Morocco.
“Our utmost aim and objective right from the first day
was how we would pass the rigorous tests and get
Autonov II on the track. We had our major scare when
we got to the competition and were about to participate
when one of our wheels buckled for the first time. This
happened a day to the time we were to have our first
test. We had not had any test prior to that time. But
our team spirit and determination prevailed; we took the
car to the welding shop and the wheel and every other
thing were fixed. Thereafter, we went for the four-stage
test and we passed,” Victoria Olakanmi, a 400-level
Physics student who played a role in fixing the car’s
electrical lightings and also acted as the reserve driver
Olakanmi said being the only black Africans among the
competitors, they were really not given any chance by
many of their rivals and spectators, especially since they
were observers at the competition last year. “Many of
our rivals brought big and high-powered equipment to
the competition, but we dazed them when we emerged
third best overall,” she said.
For the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdulrahman
Bello, if anything, that remarkable feat has placed
UNILAG on a global pedestal. “I feel vindicated and
elated. I have always said the education we give at the
UNILAG is second to none. We have what it takes to
always excel and we also have all the professionals
that can perform feats. That was exactly what our
students and members of academic staff have shown.
We can vouch for our graduates at every point in time. I
am very happy this is happening when I am here,” Prof.
Bello said.
Asked to comment on the issue of sustainability, the
Vice Chancellor reminded everyone that this would not
be the first time the school would be manufacturing a
car. A former lecturer of the school, the late Prof.
Awojobi was reputed to have single-handedly
manufactured a car named Autonov. The VC said it was
in the quest to key into that line of innovation that
made the school call the latest invention Autonov II. He
added that the two cars will be placed in the
university’s prospective museum.
Based on its feat at the Netherlands, the UNILAG has
been invited to participate in a similar competition
coming up in Cape Town, South Africa in October. The
school expects to have developed another car before
then for the competition.
Prof. Gana expressed delight over the manufacturing of
Autonov II and assured UNILAG’s authorities of
government’s interest in developing the innate potential
of every student there and, indeed, that of every
Nigerian student.

tags:YOU CAN ALSO CHECK “CHEVROLET VOLT” online another fashionable luxury beast designed by a Nigerian.

compiled & posted by:@djshyluckjimmy

One Comment

  1. saint says:

    I really did follow up the results from Eurosport.. Team unilag came out 13/13 in their category… Prototype Battery electric … And team uniben was first to be approved by technical inspection team… The all tried but shouldn’t be hype…

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