|Jaguar Land Rover finds the teenagers writing the code for a self-driving future|
Tomorrow’s engineers are learning to code self-driving vehicles of the future today thanks to the unique Land Rover 4×4 in Schools programme.
Self-driving cars will require an estimated one billion lines of computer code – almost 1,000 times more than the 145,000 lines required by NASA to land Apollo 11 on the moon. To meet the growing need for more coders to deliver these future autonomous and connected vehicles, Jaguar Land Rover is looking to inspire the next generation of software engineers.
The talented teenagers competing in this year’s Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge world finals – a global education enrichment initiative aimed at encouraging young people to take up STEM careers – were able to write 200 lines of code in just 30 minutes, to successfully navigate a scale model Range Rover Evoque around a 5.7-metre circuit.
David Lakin, Head of Education from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), said: “We’re in the midst of a digital skills shortage – the UK alone requires more than 1 million software engineers to fill the growing demand for roles requiring a knowledge of coding, software engineering or electronics.
“Digital skills are vital to the economy, which is why the IET is proud to support initiatives like the Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge to ensure we inspire, inform and develop future engineers and encourage diversity across STEM subjects from a young age. If we are to safeguard jobs for the next generation, we must equip the workforce of the future with the skills they will need to engineer a better world.”
As of 2018, there were 23 million software developers worldwide but this population is expected to grow to 27.7 million by 2023†. With World Economic Forum research suggesting 65% of students today will end up working in jobs that don’t currently exist*.
This year, Jaguar Land Rover will launch a new Digital Skills Apprenticeship programme to attract the brightest computer engineers to help code its next-generation electric, connected and autonomous vehicles and support the factories of the future.
Nick Rogers, Director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “The future of automotive is increasingly rooted in computer engineering and software development as we move to a world of autonomy. As an employer we are helping develop the next generation of engineers while future-proofing our business an estimated 1.2 million more people with specialist digital skills needed by 2022 in the UK alone.”
The Land Rover 4×4 in Schools programme has helped the company reach more than four million young people since 2000. This year 110 students from 14 countries, including South Africa, qualified for the world finals held at the University of Warwick, with the NewGen Motors team from Greece lifting the trophy following two intensive days of competition. The two teams from South Africa included Team Rhino SA from Pietermaritzburg Girl’s High School, and The Insomniacs from Roshnee Islamic School in Vereeniging.
Mark Wemyss-Holden, former teacher and UK National Project Manager for the programme said: “Coding is high on the agenda across industry and teachers do a fantastic job delivering the curriculum, but schools have competing priorities and are hamstrung by limited budgets and time. The private sector, and programmes like Land Rover 4×4 In Schools, have a real opportunity to bridge the gap between what learners enjoy studying and how that translates into a future career.”
Jaguar Land Rover is a leader in the development of Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared (ACES) mobility services and has invested in Global Pioneering Hubs around the world to capitalise on – including Shannon, Republic of Ireland; Budapest, Hungary and Portland, in the United States.
John Cormican, General Manager for Vehicle Engineering, Shannon, said: “Shannon has an important role to play in realising the company’s vision for autonomous and connected vehicles, but we cannot deliver this future without the very best minds – individuals who could write the next chapter for Jaguar Land Rover. It’s fantastic to see the company taking such an innovative approach towards investing in the next generation.”
The Land Rover 4×4 in Schools programme was launched in the UK in 2006 and was launched globally in 2015. The Challenge now operates in 20 countries and to date, 15,000 young people have participated in the programme. The competition inspires many students to pursue STEM careers in the automotive industry including former participants who have joined Jaguar Land Rover as undergraduates and apprentices.