Jacob Eldred

Project title: 'Harder Better Faster Stronger... Vibration Testing the NI/JLR Autonomous Buggies'

What was the name of the company you worked for and what do they do?

I was working for the University of Leeds on one of the summer internships offered within the Faculty of Engineering.

What was your role within the company? 

In the second year of the Mechanical Engineering course at the University of Leeds, students build and program an autonomous vehicle as part of a design and build contest. Previously, the vehicles had been tested in competition - my internship was to design and manufacture a test facility that would allow students to test their vehicles under controlled conditions.

A typical day on placement

My day was typically spent either in the workshop constructing parts for the rig, or in the robotics lab programming it and tinkering. I had to learn a variety of new skills using LabVIEW and also got some parts manufactured using the new 3D printers.

What did you enjoy the most and did you get involved in any interesting projects? 

The project involved designing and building a four poster suspension test bed that would be able to simulate the track used in the second year competition. This was done through using pistons mounted on the four posters that would fire as the virtual track came to an obstacle. The system is controlled via its own designated wifi connected to a tablet, the tablet then uses LabVIEW to communicate a MyRIO and send the signals to the pistons. The MyRIO was also used to measure the acceleration of the vehicles using its on-board accelerometers.

Why did you want to undertake an internship? 

I wanted to undertake one of the internships at the University to get my first experience of working on a big project on my own, where I was required to set my own deadlines and reach goals. I also wanted to gain my first experience in an engineering role, I have a lot of previous work history but none of it was relevant for the industry I want to get in to. 

What did you hope to get out of this experience? 

I wanted to develop my engineering skills whilst also becoming more involved in the faculty. It was a great experience, I have also gained a lot of opportunities through the contacts made here during the summer.

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

For any students wanting to undertake an internship or a placement year, I would say to make sure that you are active within your degree and your time at university. Companies like to see students that take part in activities and not just achieve high grades. Also, to apply for many applications, you don’t always get the job you want but any experience in the application process will help you further down the line.