Egyptian, Nigerian students flock to Valeo car innovation competition

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Student teams from Egypt and Nigeria make up over 10 per cent of applicants to the global Valeo Innovation Challenge, which is challenging students to create equipment to make cars “smarter” by 2030 in order to win the EUR100,000 (US$116,000) top prize.

The challenge organised by automotive parts supplier Valeo is an international student contest aimed at encouraging the design and build of the product or system that will make the cars of 2030 more smart and intuitive.

“The aim is to stimulate the students’ creativity, enabling them to form multidisciplinary teams. In this way, engineering students can join forces with students in the social sciences or any other scientific discipline that they think could be useful for their innovation project,” Valeo said.

Over 650 teams of between two and five students from 610 universities in 72 countries have so far applied, with Egyptians (52 teams) and Nigerians (34 teams) among the top five applicants by country so far.

The most applications have come from India (227), while China (55) and the United States (22) also make up the top five. Applications have also been received from teams in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Senegal, Liberia and Ghana.

Applications are open until February 2, after which 20 teams will be shortlisted for the prototyping phase. Each team will be given EUR5,000 (US$5,800) to prototype their innovation and build a functioning demonstrator.

Six teams will be selected by September 1 to present their project to a jury in Germany at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, where a winner will be chosen to receive the EUR100,000 grand prize. Two runner-ups will walk away with EUR10,000 (US$11,600) each.

The Valeo Innovation Challenge is part of Valeo’s innovation strategy, supported by the company’s annual Research and Development budget of over EUR1 billion (US$1.16 billion).

“Innovation drives faster growth at Valeo, a technological partner to all automakers worldwide,” the company said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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