The goal for Student project auto-rickshaw at Luleå University of Technology is to create a eco-friendly, three-wheeled, hybrid car for the Indian market in collaboration with companies such as Gestamp HardTech and TVS Motor. The project that started during the spring semester includes LTU-courses Sirius, Mechatronics etc. and auto rickshaw is a popular initiative among the students.
- There is clearly much more fun to do something myself and practical work, you learna lot in, "says Axel Wallgren one of two project managers for the students andwho is studying last year mechanical engineering.
The idea of this project is that students will develop a vehicle platform and powertrain of the future auto-rickshaw as an environmentally friendly alternative to today's Indian rickshaws. Thatalso includes to reconstruct any existing weaknesses, such as the risk that it will tip over and other safety aspects like how to get it adapted for the Indian traffic situation. The project is implemented in cooperation with the company Gestamp HardTech with production site in Luleå, north of Sweden. During the first phase the company participates as a contact partner, for the latter possibly sponser the project by producing a press hardening tool for prototype manufacturing of the vehicle platform.
- We will have regular contact with them throughout the project to enable them to assess whether this is possible to produce and December 15 we will have a complete concept, "says Ulrika Grönlund, who also is a project leader for the students.
Other partners in the project are eg. LTU centre of excellence CASTT engagedin research in cooperation with automotive testing industry, the Indian vehicle manufacturer TVS Motor and some other Indian organizations for the automotive industry.
Who invented the rickshaw from the beginning is unclear but some claim that it was the American blacksmith Albert Tolman who in 1848 constructed a rickshaw for a missionary. That might be so, but modern times is not as in the old days when the rickshaws were built of bamboo usually for the transport of society's elite. Today it is a very common means of transport, particularly in India, both as hand-drawn two-wheeled vehicles, bicycles and motor verticles-called auto-rickshaws. The latter is in the focus of the LTU students because it has a great potential for positive enviromental impact in India, with its many inhabitants and vehicles.
- Common auto-rickshaws there are quite a lot, but hybrids we have not seen so many, not that has come out in production anyway, "says Axel Wallgren
Students in the project, which right now is eight persons and in the fall will be some more, are at the moment developing an initial concept, with a main layout and design for the vertical, and the requirements to be met. The goal is also that the group can be travelling to India to acquaint themselves withconditions of the country and currently work is underway to find funding for the trip.