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80 students came to Danfoss with autonomous solutions

80 students from 23 nationalities submitted their autonomous solutions to the SDU Case Competition, which is mainly sponsor Danfoss. The students worked for 48 hours in a row in the battle for a total prize fund of 30,000 kroner sponsored by Danfoss.

-    The SDU Case Competition is here to stay. It has been an unforgettable weekend and we could not have been more excited about the outcome. SDU as the organiser and Danfoss as the sponsor have both already said yes to another round.

This is how it sounds from the project coordinator of the event, Frederik Gottlieb, who is an innovation consultant at SDU. The event took place over 48 hours from Friday to Sunday at Alsion.

The young talents brainstormed, hacked, played, laughed, pitched and worked intensely with creative problem solving within the topics of autonomous systems and vehicles. And autonomous systems ARE important in the context of the green transition.

The cheapest and purest energy is the one we do not use. Therefore, the transition to sustainable energy consumption begins with energy efficiency. In this context, automation and autonomous solutions are an absolute necessity.

Automation and autonomous solutions contribute to the green transition by the virtue of reduced resource consumption and labour costs, which enables production in neighbouring areas, and reduces the need for transport and therefore also the emission of CO2 from transportation. At the same time, automation is more efficient and accurate, which reduces waste and ensures optimal utilisation of both raw materials, energy, and water.

The egg came first

The competition's main sponsor, Danfoss, had not only provided a total prize pool of DKK 30,000 but also provided real cases within autonomous systems that can be integrated into agriculture, airports, forestry, or the construction industry.

The winner of the competition was ‘Team Eggsperts’ consisting of Otel Emanuel-Ionut, Hana Tranum, Melanie Rahm, Arthicha Srisuchinnawong and Daniel Mauricio Fernández González.

The team manufactured a prototype of a self-propelled egg collector for free-range hens. In the business case, they presented a plan for increased earnings, as well as showing examples of how the automatic egg collector would eliminate things like respiratory infections and back injuries among employees on egg farms.

-    My teammate over here programmed for 15 minutes before the presentation, which illustrates how intense the process has been, but we would 100% do it all again, because it has been absolutely fantastic, says Otel Emanuel-Ionut.

The team celebrated first place with a few beers, but then quickly hit the pillows because of the weekend's accumulated sleep deficit. ‘Team Eggspert’s five members highlight the interdisciplinary collaboration as one of the coolest aspects of the competition.

-    It has been so impressive to see what other disciplines can do. The robot guys are specialists in a narrow topic with a very specific focus, where I, from the business side must focus on the entirety of the project. It was great to be able to combine our competencies. It has been incredibly interesting to experience different ways of thinking, says Melanie Rahm.

It was not only the participants who were enthusiastic about the SDU Case Competition. Also, a tough jury consisting of the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at SDU, Henrik Bindslev, President of Controls at Danfoss, Henrik V. Jørgensen, Head of the Department of Mechanics and Electronics at SDU, Thomas Buhl, CEO of MIR, Søren E. Nielsen, and Head of Autonomous at Danfoss, Peter Bleday, were overjoyed.

Danfoss was able to draw new inspiration for autonomous systems and self-driving vehicles, and Henrik V. Jørgensen, President of Controls at Danfoss, was enthusiastic about the concept and the students' presentations.

-    I was in suspense about the outcome, but the result was very impressive. Some of it targeted exactly what we work with every day. As Peter Bleday said, he was out visiting an almond farm 14 days ago, where they are faced with exactly the problems that the students came up with a potential solution to. So, their ideas are really good.

The next edition of the SDU Case Competition will take place in the autumn of 2022. The exact date has not yet been determined.

Editing was completed: 08.11.2021