LUNAR Council Hosts First Ever CADathon to Tackle the Future of Transportation

April 21, 2021

 image of nimbusThe winning team of the first ever CADathon hosted by LUNAR Council developed NimBus, a bus that travels above traffic with low-friction air bearings and a solar-powered linear induction propulsion system.

This March, some Texas Engineering students chose to spend their spring break week participating in the first ever CADathon hosted by LUNAR Council, a student organization in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. LUNAR (Leadership, Undergraduate, Networking, and Recruitment), established in 2008, consists of student representatives from the aerospace and computational engineering majors with the mission of providing continuous feedback to the department while also supporting its outreach and recruitment efforts.

Similar to a hackathon, a CADathon challenges teams of students to design a concept using CAD (computer-aided design) for visualizing the project. The first LUNAR CADathon was open to teams of 2-6 students across all engineering majors. This year’s objective was to build the “vehicle of the future” during the week of spring break. LUNAR’s goal of the event was to “allow students to showcase and develop their CAD skills while providing a source of collaboration and camaraderie.”

The winning team, NimBus, expressed that the future of transportation lies in making public transportation more economic, energy-efficient and convenient within an easily implementable infrastructure. The team created a bus that travels above traffic with low-friction air bearings and a solar-powered linear induction propulsion system, which would significantly decrease travel times in congested urban environments. As a result, fewer people would need to rely on personal transportation methods such as automobiles, which would decrease net emissions while offering a green public transportation alternative.

Winning team members, all mechanical engineering majors, are: Juan Chavarria, Pavitra Kotecha, Lance Lui, Jack Qiao and Prithika Sen.

LUNAR Council plans to host the CADathon annually.