S6 vacationists work on building a car

Tuesday April 09 2013

The Smack old boys who are now at the Centre for Research in Transportation Technologies where they are interning on transforming the state of transportation in Uganda. Below, the robot car they assembled while in secondary school. Photos by Abubaker Lubowa/Courtesy

Many bewail our education system, terming it impractical and aloof to the problems that affect the nation. Yet, as many grow more skeptical of this system by the year, a team of 10 students in their vacation, is showing the way to the right direction.

In the serenity of Ntinda, 200 metres behind Quality Shopping Village, is the house that is home to the Centre for Research in Transportation Technologies (CRTT), a facility in which research is done into transforming the state of transportation to more energy saving and safer alternatives. One may expect such a place to be filled by a bunch of bespectacled grey-haired PhD holders in the engineering field. Yet on entry, I was greeted by young faces, all of them my contemporaries.

They too are students in their Senior Six vacation who designed “The Smart Hybrid Car”, a car prototype with smart-features that Kiira EV Company adopted for their yet to be released sequel, the Kiira EV Smack.

Ivan Karugaba, Andrew Bakashaba, Amon Nyesigye, Brian Mukeswe, Samuel Lutalo, Augustine Kizito, Yusuf Buwanguzi, Ivan Bogere, Daniel Busingye and Morris Ndawula, all old boys of St Mary’s College Kisubi, teamed up under the school’s Science and Robotics Club to take part in the iLabs-founded annual School’s Technology and Innovations Challenge (STIC) hosted at The College of Engineering, Design Art and Technology (CEDAT), Makerere University.

“Our car presentation made us emerge best in the challenge,” a visibly proud Nyesigye says. “It also won us the Best Project,” Karugaba adds, “which besides certificates, awarded us full tuition for the next term and a Huawei sponsored e-lab at school set up with 20 computers.” Yet, that was not all.

How it came to life
Their unprecedented project got the eye of Paul Isaac Musasizi, the Associate Principal Investigator in the Department of Electrical Engineering and luckily, the in-charge of the Kiira EV project. Having scouted their ingenious talent, he arranged a partnership with the Kiira EV Company and St Mary’s College Kisubi, in which they were to be contributing researchers under the supervision of the main Kiira EV University team, to put their ideas together to make Uganda cars.