Spring on the York College campus

Multidisciplinary Project

By Deena Santoro '18
Students standing around YC go-cart
Left to Right: Senior Alex Smith answers questions from juniors, Jason Bady and Thomas Cudney.

This year, 10 dedicated Engineering seniors worked on a multidisciplinary group project to build a fully functioning hobbyist electric car.

“Engineering is a series of failures that leads to success,” said Don Hake, a professor in the Engineering and Computer Science Department, who was faculty advisor for the 2018 electric car capstone project. Hake encourages students to learn from real-world, hands-on experience, and shares his 30 years of project management and development in the fields of engineering and computer science.

“This is the wave of the future,” Hake stated. “It’s current. It introduces a very large multidisciplinary project. Its main focus is not Mechanical Engineering, it’s not Electrical Engineering, it’s not Computer Engineering, it’s not Software Engineering. It is all of that together.”

Building a car is an intricate and skilled art that requires teamwork to deliver results. As head of the software sub-team, Alex Smith ’18 (Brookfield, CT) worked with all team members to design, create, and configure schematic diagrams into physical circuit boards, as well as the software necessary to communicate with and control the systems that other sub-teams had designed and built for the car.

Smith, a Computer Engineering major, spent the past year as a software engineer for Episo, a startup website in the video production industry while he also interned for BD, an R&D engineering company specializing in medical devices, and before that, Johnson Controls, located in York, Pennsylvania.

“My dream job is not to be on the leading edge of technology but on the bleeding edge,” he said.

Smith plans to continue this research through an independent study in which he hopes to make the car into an autonomous-ready electric car. His overall mission is to uncover what is necessary to control the car, to manipulate a computer program and learn how to control it, and to teach and share this new knowledge with the YCP community and the world.