Every year we take the time to prepare a workshop together with the department of Computer Science TU Munich for the students. Last years the task for the students was to program Java on development boards running an Android OS. This year we wanted to take it to the next level and give them an idea of how we work in one of our projects where we build a car-sharing solution.
The task involved writing native code for an embedded chip and implementing an application on running on an Android controller. Here is a description of the main task. The students formed teams of 4 which were further split into two sub-teams to solve the the two different tasks, one team for each controller.
To make it feasible for the students to complete the task, we provided a test suite to them to check their implementations. If all the tests were green they could submit their solution and get to see it running in our BMW i3 test car.
In total more than 100 students participated and at the end of the exercise we had 16 working solutions. Last Tuesday we invited all of the teams that successfully completed the assignment to our office so they could see their software running on a real system. Tuesday came and it was a perfect day for a test drive — the sun was up, as were the temperatures (maybe a tad too much but we shouldn’t complain since we don’t get many days like these in Munich). We thought it appropriate to give them some hints on how they could improve their coding skills, thus we started the event with a presentation on some of the common mistakes and how they could further improve. Afterwards we went to the car and began the test drives.
Team after team, everybody got to see that their solution was deployed and then actually running in the car! While one team was testing, the others would relax by the pool (and yes, we have a pool in our office complex :).
At the end we elected the 3 best performing teams and awarded them some prizes (the team members of the winning team received each a Raspberry Pi 2). All in all we had a lot of fun preparing the workshop and also spending the afternoon together with the students test-driving their solutions.