SEDTAPP partners with Delphi on client-driven EDSGN 100 project


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Electric and autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation.  And that future is becoming more and more realized with each passing day.  The past few years have seen an explosion of announcements of new electric vehicles, partial and fully autonomous vehicles, and smart roads. 

To introduce first-year engineering students to this world of electric and autonomous vehicles, the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP) has partnered with Delphi Automotive, a global automotive components design and manufacturing company, for its fall 2017 EDSGN 100: Introduction to Engineering Design client-driven design project.

Delphi Automotive is one the world’s largest automotive parts manufacturers. The company provides electrical, electronic and safety systems to vehicles manufacturers around the world.  This fall during the course of the project, Delphi Automotive announced that it will soon be Aptiv, and to strengthen its position as a technology leader in the global autonomous mobility market, it acquired nuTonomy, a leading developer of autonomous driving (AD) software solutions.

The students have been tasked with choosing a project from one of Delphi’s three target areas – safe, green and connected – and investigating how they can improve the vehicle in that area.

As an automotive technology provider, Delphi’s goal is to help make zero fatalities, injuries, accidents and emissions and seamless connectivity a reality. By presenting these challenges to first-year engineering students at Penn State, Delphi hopes to gain new ideas and opportunities. 

“This will be a great opportunity for Delphi to gain fresh perspectives on the challenges of autonomous-driving and electric vehicles,” Thomas Drummond, North American hybrid and electric vehicle engineering manager at Delphi, said. “In addition, new ideas on the solutions to recognized challenges such as infrastructure, societal concerns and unanticipated wants. 

Students have been asked to change an existing feature or function or to create new technology to enhance autonomous or electric vehicles. Completed projects will include a systems diagram, a user experience example and an approximate cost of the proposal. The projects should consider feasibility and adoption relating to culture, security and privacy and showcase how users will interact with or be affected by the design. Final project solutions should be profitable and affordable.

By providing students with the opportunity to solve engineering design problems as soon as they begin their undergraduate career, SEDTAPP and its industry partners immediately immerse first-year students into the engineering field.  “It is vital that our engineering students become engaged with clients early in their student careers,” Sven Bilén, head of the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs and professor of engineering design, electrical engineering and aerospace engineering, said. “Through this exposure they begin to understand real-world drivers of engineering solutions and other important aspects, like policy and technology trends.”

“Students gain a better knowledge of what industry projects can be like and to work together as a team, brainstorm and gather ideas among team members to solve a problem,” Steve Kelly, customer team leader at Delphi, said.

Client-driven projects like this project give students a better idea of what being an engineer is by learning the impact engineers have on humanity, improving society on a local, national and global scale.

“Engineers change the world and engineering students can play a part in that change,” Mark Scheel, supervisor, materials engineering at Delphi, said.

Winning teams will showcase their solutions at the College of Engineering’s Design Showcase at the Bryce Jordan Center from 1 - 3 p.m. on December 7.


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Samantha Chavanic

“Engineers change the world and engineering students can play a part in that change."



The School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP) delivers effective engineering education and unrivaled research opportunities through active, collaborative, project-based, and professionally oriented classroom experiences. SEDTAPP offers a variety of programs that partner faculty, students, and industry in the study of real-life engineering problems. Our programs teach students to solve real-life problems with innovative solutions. 

School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs

213 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2952