Team Roadgineers (from left) Muhammad Syakir Kamarul Zaman, Muhammad Mohd Din, Faroukh Mohd Rashid, Tun Afif Fatihah Tuan Azza Afif and Kamisah Mohd showing their winning trophy and cash prize replica after their electro-strips invention won the ‘ShellSelamatSampai Varsity Challenge 2017’ recently. Picture by FAIZ ANUAR

BLIND corner accidents happen due to a lack of visibility and driving over the speed limit.

Currently, the blind corners on the road are observed only through a convex mirror (a curved mirror in which the reflective surface bulges toward the light source) to alert drivers of both sides of the road.

There is no doubt about the effectiveness of the convex mirror but still there are flaws and limitations of using the convex mirror at blind turns whereby drivers do not slow down.

A group of undergraduates from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) decided to design a new system using microcontrollers to prevent road accidents at blind corners.

Their simple yet effective approach is by installing electro-strips that emit warning lights when a vehicle is detected from the opposite direction or is speeding.

Team leader Muhammad Syakir Kamarul Zaman, 22, said “electro-strips” were used to reduce the risk of accidents by alarming the road users of vehicle’s speed display at a blind turn.

“The application consists of two separated subsystems combined to one main system. The first subsystem consists of vibration sensors which is installed onto a rumble strip (a series of raised strips across a road or along its edge) on the targeted road.

“As the vehicle passes through the rumble strips, the sensor detects vibration from the passing vehicle and then triggers a signal to light up the warning light which is installed at the end of the blind corner to indicate that there is an incoming vehicle.

“Meanwhile, the second subsystem consists of two ultrasonic sensors which is used to measure passing vehicles’ speed from the opposite side thus sending data to be displayed by the LED screen installed at the end of the blind corner,’ said the fourth year student in Mechanical Engineering.

Muhammad Syakir said the electro-strips were first tested in UiTM which targeted the road users in campus.

Observations were made for five consecutive weeks and the findings showed that the road users began to lower their speed at the targeted area.

“Average speed recorded at the targeted blind corner before the project implementation was approximately 46.7km/h.

“However, with the implementation of electro-strips, the vehicle’s speed gradually dropped to approximately 24.2km/h,” he explained.

The other team members ­— Kamisah Mohd, 22; Tun Afif Fatihah Tuan Azza Afif, 22; Muhammad Mohd Din, 20; and Faroukh Mohd Rashid, 23; alongside Muhammad Syakir, took nearly two weeks to complete the prototype and to get it operational.

Calling themselves Roadgineers, the team recently won the inaugural ‘ShellSelamatSampai Varsity Challenge’ with their creative invention.

They brought home RM10,000 cash prize, a trophy and a certificate. Muhammad Syakir said this project was set-up by using the fund given by Shell Malaysia Sdn Bhd and from its sponsor Persatuan Alumni Majlis Perwakilan Pelajar (PIMPIN) UiTM.

“Moreover, this project was installed in UiTM and the effectiveness of this project is recorded to be at 46.7 per cent,” he added.

Kamisah said the challenge had taught them to be more disciplined, punctual and respect each other’s role. “We had to sacrifice our semester break to come back to UiTM to work on this project. On top of that, we have exams coming up. But because of passion and interest in making our dream a reality, we did what we have to do.

“For our determination and perseverance we were chosen as the winning team,” she added.

Tun Afif Fatihah said the team has bigger plans to make their prototype marketable but financing it could be a major constraint.

“We need more financial aid from the faculty and other corporate sponsors as we see the potential of our prototype to be commercialised,” she said.

Muhammad Syakir said to patent the prototype would cost them about RM3,000.

The inter-varsity competition saw students’ unique approaches to road safety, some leveraging on creative uses of technology and applying business and engineering acumen to road safety solutions.

Eleven teams from Curtin University Malaysia, Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara Miri, and UiTM took part in the challenge in Miri last September.

The theme for the competition, Goal Zero, was to empower undergraduates to embark on the road safety project that would contribute towards achieving zero road related accidents within their campuses and the surrounding community.

Upon submission of project proposals, each participating team was given RM1,000 start-up fund to embark on an eight week project implementation.

Shell mentors were assigned to each team to monitor and guide them. At the end of the project implementation, teams submitted their final report for consideration, in which the best five teams were shortlisted for the final project presentation in the grand finale.

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