Camp CAR introduces high school students to automotive engineering

Posted: July 24, 2018

The Center for Automotive Research along with the Honda-Ohio State Partnership hosted 10 high school students at Camp CAR, a week long summer camp focused on automotive engineering.


amp CAR on driving simulator
Each student was able to complete an obstacle course on the Driving Simulator where they had to maneuver around cones and drive in a figure eight pattern.

The students had the opportunity to hear from a variety of engineers and researchers as well as work in the Machine Shop building a model car, test out their driving skills in the Driving Simulator, become familiar with simulations and modeling, see what it’s like to use the Light Duty Chassis Dynamometer and tour different facilities including the Transportation Research Center (TRC) and a Honda Manufacturing Plant.

Throughout the week students learned how to use different tools in the Machine Shop while building a model car that they raced on the final day of camp. They worked in teams to determine which car was most efficient based on its weight. The teams all began with the same 3D model car but could manipulate different aspects of it to make it weigh more or less to affect how much energy and momentum their car had.


Camp CAR in machine shop
The students spent time in the Machine Shop each day working on their 3D model cars. They could manipulate different aspects of the model to make it weigh more or less to effect how much energy and momentum the car had.

Camp CAR also introduced the students to simulation and modeling. They were given the opportunity to work on 3-D simulations where they learned about structural optimization and had a chance to simulate air flow over model cars.

“It was cool to apply what I learned in physics class last year to the simulations,” said Isabel Delamater who will be a senior at the Marysville Early College STEM School this fall.

At TRC the campers were shown around the Impact Laboratory where they had a chance to learn about crash test dummies and see where crash simulations take place.


Camp CAR at TRC
Checking out the crash test dummies at TRC was one of the highlights of the week for many students.


“I liked seeing the crash test dummies and I learned about how simulations save time and money compared to actual crash tests,” said Howard Wang, an incoming junior at Columbus Academy.  

The Honda Manufacturing Plant was the first time in a manufacturing plant for many of the campers. They had a chance to see the car building process first hand. Did you know that it takes 18 hours to build a car from start to finish and 9 of those hours are in the paint shop?


JD Orr at Camp CAR
Industrial designer JD Orr sketched car designs and gave them to some lucky students at Camp.




A highlight for many of the students was hearing from industrial designer, JD Orr whose background includes designing vehicle exteriors for Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac to name a few. The students enjoyed watching Orr sketch car designs right in front of them.

I was very inspired by his presentation,” said Alain Welliver who will be a sophomore at Upper Arlington High School and hopes to one day study industrial design. “He gave life tips while talking about his career that I thought were really valuable.”

“He can draw right off the bat without putting a lot of thought into it. He knows what to do and how to do it,” said Jay Painter, an incoming freshman at New Albany High School who also hopes to be an industrial designer one day.

While all of the students who attended camp had an initial interest in engineering, their experiences throughout the week solidified the decision for some.

“I always thought I wanted to major in mechanical engineering with an automotive focus on reducing carbon emissions but after my experience at Camp CAR I know that’s the area of engineering I definitely want to study,” said Delamater. 

Written by Colleen Herr, Marketing and Communications Specialist, CAR

Tag: camp car