The School of Engineering recently took delivery of two cars donated by the Kia Motors Manufacturing Facility in West Point, Ga. (Kia-Georgia). The vehicles will be used for hands-on research involving the university’s electrical, civil, mechanical, systems and mechatronics engineering programs, along with the electrical and computer engineering technology program.
Kia-Georgia has pledged to supply SPSU with cars every 12-24 months. This marks the establishment of a relationship that will have far-reaching benefits for SPSU students and faculty, according to Dr. Cyril Okhio, an associate professor in Electrical and Mechatronics Engineering who approached Georgia representatives of the South Korea-based auto maker on behalf of the university.
The relationship with Kia-Georgia “will have a long-term impact on the recruitment, nurturing, retention, graduation, placement and tracking of our engineering and engineering technology students,” he said. “It will also have a long-term impact on sharpening and renewing the teaching and research capabilities of our faculty members. And it will provide the university with much-needed teaching and research materials at little or no cost.”
Dr. Okhio is the faculty advisor for the campus chapter of the International Society of Automation (ISA) and the SPSU Undergraduate Research Club (URC). His goal in contacting Kia-Georgia was to arrange field trips for the organizations, and at the same time, pursue a training/education relationship with the company.
“During one of our field trips, Kia personnel expressed interest in collaborative work with Georgia universities, and especially with SPSU, because the SPSU graduates among their employees have been outperforming graduates from colleges both in Georgia and nation-wide,” said Dr. Okhio, noting that he spent 100 days helping to shape the agreement with Kia.
For SPSU, Dr. Okhio sees the relationship facilitating the growth of the School of Engineering’s applied research and education in five initial focus areas:
• vehicle thermal-cooling management research;
• vehicle dynamics and performance (vibration and noise);
• hybrid architecture, design and energy management optimization;
• hybrid and alternative fuel technologies; and
• vehicle computer-integrated manufacturing, protocol, architecture and logistics.
“Specific benefits to SPSU students include internships, co-op and employment opportunities close to home,” he added.