Students engineer electric vehicle for disabled racing fanatic with ABB support

Students engineer electric vehicle for disabled racing fanatic with ABB support

On the 6th December, students from Warsaw University of Technology handed over an electric racing car, supported by ABB, to a 10-year old boy who suffers from muscular dystrophy.

10-year-old Maksymilian Młodawski has a passion for car-racing and a fierce competitive streak. However, as an electric wheelchair user, living his passion has not always been easy. Now, thanks to the students of Warsaw University of Technology and ABB, Maksymilian can drive a fully adapted electric vehicle - eMaksPower - and realise his dream.

The project was initiated when Maks and his father, Michał Młodawski, visited a science picnic at Poland’s National Stadium and came across an electric racing car presented by students from Warsaw University of Technology. The students behind the vehicle challenged themselves to develop a car tailored to Maks’ driving capabilities and worked with ABB to make the idea a reality.

Weighing in at 110 kilograms, around 10 times lighter than a small electric car, eMaksPower benefits from hard suspension and aerodynamic shape similar to a jet ski. Braking, accelerating (up to 80 km/h) and turning are all done through simple wrist movement manipulating a joy- stick.

“A big challenge was to adjust the vehicle control system to the range of Maks’ wrist movements,” said Łukasz Krawczuk vel Walczuk, project manager from Warsaw University of Technology. “We had to design the vehicle in such a way that the output signal was only a joystick that integrates three systems: propulsion, steering and braking.”

Four scientific clubs at Warsaw University of Technology collaborated on the project; the Student Club of Vehicle Aerodynamics, the ADEK Scientific Club, the Scientific Club of Robotics and the Interdepartmental Scientific Club SmartCity.

Throughout the project young designers were provided with technical support from lecturers at Warsaw University of Technology, including Dr Piotr Biczel who shared his knowledge of batteries, charging, power systems and safety systems. The project was also supported by ABB as global experts in smarter mobility, with over a decade of experience in innovating, installing and maintaining e-mobility infrastructure and a mission to achieve a zero-emission reality.

Katarzyna Sobótka-Demianowska, manager of ABB’s e-mobility business in Poland, said: “With such projects, electromobility is taking on a whole new dimension by breaking through mobility barriers and creating a more inclusive society. While the initiative has an educational focus, it more importantly has a social responsibility aspect. ABB is writing the future of safe, smart and sustainable electrification and projects such as these are critical to achieving this mission for all.”

Łukasz Krawczuk vel Walczuk added: “Students involved in this project have won many prestigious international awards in aerodynamics, electromobility and robotics. While healthy scientific competition has been a factor in this project, the key motivation for all involved has been the opportunity to tangibly help a young person achieve their dreams. During the project, we consulted ABB on the possibility of integrating components in such a way that they could be compatible with the ABB Wallbox charger in the future. In additional to valuable financial resources, we counted on significant professional support.”

The first test drive with Maks took place ahead of the car’s official premiere at the Global e-Mobility Forum, which took place on the 21st November. Following its launch, students have set to work on a new solution that will allow Maks’ father to control the vehicle remotely in case of an emergency.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a technology leader that is driving the digital transformation of industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB has four customer-focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by the ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB’s Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.


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