Touch-A-Truck Community Event and Future City Club

Touch-A-Truck Community Event

The UF student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), in conjunction with the STRIDE Center, hosted a children’s activity booth on Saturday, September 14, 2019, at the 10th Annual Fun 4 Gator Kids Touch-A-Truck event held on the Santa Fe College campus. Nearly 10,000 people attended the event where children were encouraged to get up close and touch over 80 construction, farm, emergency, military, public service vehicles, and cranes. ITE’s booth included a LEGO® Race Car activity where children made their own race car out of LEGO®s and then raced it down a ramp. A couple of the ramps included a textured road surface such as the “Rocky Road” where children could test how their vehicle’s speed or agility changed with added friction. The booth had a steady stream of race car builders throughout the event. Student volunteers at the booth included Siddhartha Gulhare, Asean Davis, Leonida Kibet, Corbin Kramer, Megan Voss, and Ehsan Amini – all from ITE, and Ala Alobeidyeen from the UF student chapter of the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS). Meanwhile, older children and adults learned about Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology through a demonstration led by Patrick Neal, a doctoral student in the UF Center for Intelligent Machines and Robotics (CIMAR). Neal showed attendees how the LIDAR emits pulses of laser beams that reflect off of objects and measures the distances to that object. Each beam provides a point that when combined with other points, creates a “point cloud” that forms a 3-D representation of buildings, vehicles and people. LIDAR is used in many autonomous vehicles along with other sensing equipment such as cameras and radar.

Future City Club

The STRIDE Center helped launch an Engineering Club at Howard Bishop Middle School in Gainesville, FL in order to participate in the national Future City Competition. The competition requires middle school students to work as a team in order to design a city set 100 years in the future. Six students participate in a weekly meeting where they learn about engineering, urban planning, and infrastructure. Mentors from UF and the Alachua County Growth Management Department provide support and guidance as students complete a project plan, a virtual city, an essay, a scale model, and a presentation in preparation for a regional competition in January 2020.