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Self-driving car achieved by WIT electronic engineering students in 12 weeks

 

WIT self drive car 2016 team

 

12 weeks. Eight students. One Toyota Corolla. No hands on the steering wheel.

 

Eight engineering students at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) recently achieved a first for the Applied Robotics Lab with a Self Driving Robotic Car.

 

After just 12 weeks of working on the project students on the one-year BEng in Electronic Engineering, an add on course for the two-year Higher Certificate in Engineering in Electronic Engineering had a Toyota Corolla safely finish a test drive on the institute’s Cork Road campus.

 

The students are part of the WIT School of Engineering Applied Electronics Stream, a study pathway that allows a student to get an honours degree in Applied Electronics without the prerequisite of Higher Level Maths.

 

“Achieving the ‘White Board to Self Drive Car’ project in 12 weeks, eight WIT Electronic Engineering students have proven that anything is possible, if you keep moving forward. They have just completed a project never before attempted within WIT, in 12 weeks and it worked. One of the coolest sounds we have ever heard on a project was listening to the car increasing revs as its gets ready to go,” said lecturer Jason Berry, the Lead Engineer in WIT’s Applied Robotics Lab (ARL) lectures on the Higher Cert in Electronics, BEng in Electronics, BSc in Applied Computing, Masters in Electronic Engineering and Post Graduate Diploma in Business in Innovation Practice.

 

“The project is the bread and butter of what any engineer is all about – figuring stuff out for yourself. Third year is a big transition for our students into the world of self learning.”

 

Head of the School of Engineering at WIT, Ken Thomas outlined the prospects for students of electronic engineering. “Electronic Engineers are in high demand and short supply in Ireland. We in WIT want more Electronics students to equip them with the cutting-edge knowledge and skills that will allow them be very successful – and have great fun along the way with projects like Robo Car.”

 

A video of the initial test drive is also available on www.wit.ie/selfdrivecar2016 and WIT social media accounts.

 

Berry’s advice for school leavers and college applicants impressed by this project and who want to know if they would be suited a future in electronic engineering to get in contact with WIT staff.

 

“People can get in touch through the individual course pages. You can come in and have a look around at WIT, there is always a warm welcome in WIT Applied Robotics Lab.”

 

There are also ways of learning about electronics from home.

 

“Get yourself an arduino board and play with it right now, they are very cheap and there are loads of cool projects on the web. If you like the projects, who knows you might be onto something.”

 

Previous graduates have been employed by Intel, Honeywell, Ericsson, Dell, Analog Devices, Bausch + Lomb, EMC.

 

Career opportunities for graduates of this course exist in various areas such as telecommunications, software and computer industry, research and development, electronic and IC design, production, test/maintenance, and control/automation departments.

 

How did they do it? Read the full details, watch the video and browse through the photos at http://www.wit.ie/selfdrivecar2016

 
Waterford’s Visitor Experience Survey 2016 launched (DEXIS)

 

DEXIS 1

 

The Destination Experience Information System project (DEXIS) launched their pioneering new Visitor Experience Survey for Waterford City and County this week. The project arises from a collaborative partnership between Waterford Viking Triangle Trust, Waterford City and County Council, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford Chamber of Commerce, and the tourist offices of Waterford, Tramore, Dungarvan and Lismore.

 

According to Project Manager Anne-Marie Lally, “This project is in response to a clear need of the tourism sector to have up-to-date information about the range and quality of experiences our visitors have in the region so that our destination can continuously improve and innovate in line with visitor expectations.”

 

The Visitor Experience Survey was piloted in the Viking Triangle in 2015 and the results were very positive, with over half of visitors saying that the experience offered in Waterford exceeded their expectations and particular commendations were given to the high quality visitor attractions, museums, the friendly ambassadors and the overall sense of history in the city. Rolling it out across the city and into the county will allow the DEXIS project team gather perceptions from a wider range of visitors at a much broader range of locations. This will augment both the quality of the information and give the sector a very real sense of the calibre of visitor experience that is provided over the summer period. 

 

Throughout the summer short questionnaires will be available for businesses to provide to the tourists that they engage with over the summer months and completed questionnaires can be collected or posted back to the project team for analysis. The project results will be shared with all participating businesses on a monthly basis throughout July, August and September.

 

Ms Lally continued: “Participation in this project is open to any business which encounters visitors to the region and the project team would like to send an open invitation to all businesses within Waterford City and County to participate in the DEXIS project and do their part in gathering information about the experiences of visitors to our region.”

 

If you would like to be part of this important survey or for further information about the project please contact the Project Administrator, Siobhan McGuinness at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by phone to 051 311138 at the Waterford Chamber offices.

 

Let’s all be visitor ready, have your Visitor Experience Surveys and let us know what our visitors think of Waterford and its many activities and attractions.

 
Lift off for Tramore’s Promenade Festival!

 

Tramore Prom

 

27 May 2016 – In 2015, the award-winning ‘Promenade Festival’ attracted approximately 30,000 people to Tramore, contributing an estimated €1.3m to the local economy. Since its inception in 2013, the festival has gone from strength-to-strength, with festival organisers anticipating crowds of up to 40,000 this year.

 

The festival takes place from the 1-3 July on Tramore’s promenade and features a spectacular Air Show over Tramore Bay, as well as street theatre, live music, magic shows, an artisan food and craft village and more. This year, the Waterford Walls project will also be part of the festival.

 

Speaking at the launch of this year’s Promenade Festival, at Dario’s Mexican Restaurant in Tramore, Keith Daniels, the festival’s organiser, said: “Since 2013, the Promenade Festival has grown to become one of the biggest seaside family festivals in Ireland. I’m proud to say that, last year, the festival contributed an estimated €1.3m to the local economy here. With the help of our fantastic sponsors and the continued support from local businesses in Tramore, this year’s festival will be even bigger and better. We are expecting to welcome crowds of up to 40,000 people to Tramore over the three days.”

 

The festival also celebrates the work of the emergency services, who will once again showcase their skills with exciting public demonstrations.

 

Keith Daniels continued: “As a family orientated-festival, we are immensely proud that the emergency services are such an integral part of the festival, showcasing the invaluable work that they do for our community. We are certain that everyone will enjoy their demonstrations, as well as all the other fantastic events we have planned this year.”

 

The Promenade Festival is supported by Waterford County Council and The Three Sisters 2020 bid for European Capital of Culture.

 
Challenge Science celebrates 10 years of inspiring scientists of tomorrow

 

A programme that has seen 1,700 primary school pupils from across Waterford and south Kilkenny attend science workshops at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) since 2006 today (Thurs, May 26) marked 10 years of inspiring future scientists.

 

Organised by Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI), the annual Challenge Science event this year saw 150 children get hands-on in the labs at WIT as they conducted exciting experiments under the watchful eye of WIT, JAI and Genzyme personnel.

 

As part of a special two-day programme designed with their age group in mind, the Challenge Science pupils aged 11-12 from St Paul’s Boys’ National School; the Presentation Primary School; St Senan’s National School; Mount Sion Boys’ National School; St Declan’s Boys’ National School and Waterford Educate Together learned about forensic science, famous scientists and biopharmaceuticals. They were also given tips for future study and career paths as they look ahead to secondary school.

 

Challenge Science was developed to introduce primary school pupils to a world of discovery and to make them more aware of exciting study and career opportunities in Ireland’s thriving science, engineering and technology sectors. In Waterford, the programme is delivered at WIT in partnership with Genzyme. This year, 17 volunteers from the biopharmaceutical company’s Waterford campus led workshops over the two days. They took the number of volunteers from Genzyme to over 120 since the programme began 10 years ago.

 

To mark the 10-year anniversary, Genzyme hosted a celebration of the event, attended by Cllr John Cummins, Mayor of Waterford City & County along with some of the staff who had volunteered since 2006. In addition, some of the first young people to participate as primary schoolchildren and who are now pursuing science at third-level or – in one case – working at Genzyme, shared with the audience how their career paths have advanced towards science since attending the first Challenge Science in 2006.

 

Speaking at the event, Mayor Cummins said: “As we work to position Waterford as a hub in the thriving life sciences sector, it is really encouraging to see so much great work being done to promote an interest in science among children. Great credit is due to Junior Achievement Ireland, Genzyme and WIT for their teamwork on delivering ‘Challenge Science’ each year since 2006. The numbers involved are hugely impressive and underline the power of a good idea that’s executed well by people working together.”

 

Denise Power, Area Manager (South East), Junior Achievement Ireland said: “Little did we know when Challenge Science started in 2006 that it would still be flourishing 10 years later. In the meantime, 1,700 young people have had the opportunity to learn more about science and to explore WIT. As well as having great fun with their peers from other schools, the children really love the chance to do the various experiments with the Genzyme team and there’s no doubt that many of them will go on to build great careers in this field.”

 

Dr Michael Harrison, Head of the School of Science & Computing at WIT, added: “I am delighted to welcome Genzyme and the participating pupils to WIT for this year’s Challenge Science. Programmes of this type are very important as our next generation of scientists get the chance to experience hands-on science from an early age. These programmes give students the opportunity to experience our labs here in WIT in an exciting programme. I hope to welcome them back in a few years to study some of the many exciting science and computing degrees we have here in WIT. Working with industry allows us to work together to build the pipeline of students needed for the biotech and pharma industry which is going from strength to strength in the southeast.”

 

Paul Deegan, acting Head of Human Resources, Genzyme Waterford, said: “Challenge Science is one of our longest-standing community partnerships and it has been great to see the programme sustained and developed over the last 10 years – particularly as so many of our team have come on board as volunteers to deliver the workshops and classes at WIT. This all helps to tap into the natural curiosity that children have to know how things work and it’s really encouraging to know that we now have some of the first wave of participants from 10 years ago studying science at third-level and planning their careers in science.”

 
Heart of Ballybricken to be restored

 

This week Mayor Eamon Quinlan announced that a combined project between Waterford City and County Council, The Waterford Civic Trust and Waterford Museum will see the iconic Bullpost located at the heart of Ballybricken restored to its former glory. This project’s objectives are the restoration of the Bullpost, surrounding stonework in the theme of it’s by gone years along with a new historical information exhibit.

 

Mayor Quinlan said, "This project came about from Ballybricken's involvement in Winterval. We noticed the amazing stonework incorporated into the living crib by the Civic Trust’s stone mason’s lead by Mr Tony Jones and I approached them with a request to take on this larger project. They were extremely enthusiastic to take it on as the area in question holds a special resonance with all Waterford people. Follow up meetings held with the executive secured the go ahead and the Museum Director Mr Eamonn McEneaney also came on board to complete the historical information that will be on display."

 

The project is due to commence in September and will see locally trained stone masons work on the site. This is the latest in a series of projects that has seen the Bandstand painted, Benches restored, flower beds planted and the area included into some of Waterford’s signature festivals all working to revitalise the old ‘top of the town’. This forms part of a wider focus by groups and individuals to ensure that the best of our past is not only retained but given a new lease of life for the future, committing to leave no part of Waterford City behind in terms of development and attention.

 

The history of the Bullpost will also be on show in a new visual display commissioned to replace the current information column so locals as well as tourists can learn more about this icon of the City and how it acted as a trading and commercial activity centre from Waterford’s earliest days.

 
Purple Flag - knowing your town at night

 

purple flag workshop Waterford

 

The Purple Flag programme for excellence in the evening and night-time economy (ENTE) has fully established itself in Ireland, following successful applications by Dublin and Ennis in 2013, the total number of flag holders has since risen to 18 on the island of Ireland.

 

A new group of five applicant towns are now striving for this prestigious international accreditation, which is the “gold standard” for ENTE destinations. Like Blue Flag for beaches, places that meet the stringent criteria can proudly fly the flag.

 

As part of Irelands Purple Flag Academy programme, the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) has recently held a hands-on conference and night-walk in Waterford. This event saw over 20 key stakeholders from new applicant towns and cities including Dublin, Maynooth, Limerick, Tralee and Wexford learning from the experience of the Waterford team. The visiting party was led by Carmen Cronin, Ireland Purple Flag Manager and Stephen Dunlop, one of Purple Flags lead assessors.

 

Nick Donnelly, CEO of Waterford Chamber said: “It has been a huge pleasure to host the ATCM/Purple Flag Best Practice conference in Waterford and to welcome new applicant towns. We were delighted to share our experience and I look forward to developing relationships and trading knowledge and information through our Purple Flag Network into the future.”

 

Purple Flag Ireland Manager Carmen Cronin said: “Waterford is a prime example of Best Practice for Purple Flag. They have been highly commended for their ENTE Activities and their promotion and awareness creation of the award is outstanding.” She continued by saying: “The Purple Flag Academy programme for Ireland has been designed to guide Irish towns and cities through the process of applying for the Purple Flag. Beyond that however, it offers great scope for networking of the towns and their stakeholders and supporting each other in this and other areas of place management.”

 

The Waterford visit is part of the Purple Flag Academy programme which has been guiding the new applicants with five specialist modules to prepare for their Purple Flag submission in October. At the core of the application procedure for the Purple Flag award is an evaluation of the ENTE by the town/city stakeholders themselves – called the self-assessment. This useful and self-critical tool is designed to strengthen collaboration and awareness of the issues, as well as the positive aspects of the experience in that location between 5pm and 5am.

 

Opportunities for the use of the accreditation in tourism promotion are numerous - in particular through the countries airports, which have multiple connections to Purple Flag towns and cities in the UK.

 

Chairman of Purple Flag Ireland and CEO of DublinTown, Richard Guiney said, “With now 18 Irish Purple Flags flying in Irish destinations, the country has been firmly put on the map in terms of excellence in the ENTE. Purple Flag is the highest award for a vibrant, diverse and well-managed ENTE offering successful towns and cities a way to recognise, promote and further develop, making places more attractive and vibrant for both locals and visitors alike. He continued by saying, “Ireland has many wonderful and diverse town and city centres and I am delighted to see the continued interest and growth of Purple Flag in the Republic. I would like to wish all current applicants best of success in their applications.”

 

Maureen Fitzsimons, City Centre Liaison for Waterford said: “During our own time of being Purple Flag Academy members, the workshop module called Best Practice is what really put all things Purple Flag into perspective for our group of stakeholders. We are delighted to now have the opportunity to host this particular Module this year. At this stage in the process, collaboration between sectors, agencies, policy-makers and of course ENTE operators really is key and Waterford continuously building on the relationships developed during our Purple Flag submission process in order keep the city vibrant and well-managed.”

 

For further details on Purple Flag and the Purple Flag Academy programme see www.purpleflagireland.org.

 
Waterford Rotary Club meet Three Sisters 2020

 

Rotary Club Three Sisters 1

 

Three Sisters 2020 and Waterford Rotary Club met recently to discuss the role of Waterford in the South East region’s bid to become European Capital of culture for 2020. Discussion included community-driven programming, the role of business within the community, and methods to facilitate regional collaboration & legacy.

 

Included are Rotary President Nora Widger, Ronan Brazil, Michael Darcy, Gerry Sheridan and Orm Kenny. Photo by John Power.

 
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