Six Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students had a cool idea - to smother potential engine fires at the flick of a switch.
For their graduation project, they designed an electrically operated fire-suppression system built from off-the-shelf parts.
Mr Oscar Pong, 24, and Mr Stanley Ng, Mr Muhammad Irsyad Amin S., Mr Willy Tho, Mr Dominic Yeo and Mr Tan Yi Ying, all 21, were studying for ITE College West's technical engineer diploma (TED) in automotive engineering, an advanced qualification for specialised automotive engineering and technical work.
On their inspiration, Mr Ng, the team spokesman, told The Straits Times: "We found out that cases of vehicle fires were increasing."
Singapore Civil Defence Force statistics showed that vehicle fires increased last year by 18.6 per cent year-on-year and were mainly caused by electrical faults and overheating. "Older vehicles have more problems, especially with wiring," said Mr Ng.
His team installed a household smoke detector in their test vehicle's engine bay. Upon detecting smoke or heat, it would beep a warning, allowing the driver to respond by flicking a switch.
Activating the switch would trigger a dry-powder fire extinguisher, releasing its contents through strategicallyplaced nozzles on the engine. The system was built with parts worth $480.
Mr Pang Tyng Fa, an ITE lecturer and the project's supervisor, said the compact size of the system means that, with refinement, it could conceivably be commercialised and installed in most vehicles.
The fire-suppression system was one of the highlights at a showcase of graduating students' projects held yesterday at ITE College West. Industrial partners were invited to view students' work as part of the school's efforts to match graduating students with prospective employers.
Mr Mark Cameron, country manager at Scania Singapore, told The Straits Times that the automaker valued working with the ITE.
Scania and Caterpillar Asia signed a collaboration agreement with the ITE at the event.
He said: "We are giving opportunities to the students who will, we hope, one day return to us and assist with the repair and support of (our) vehicles on the road in Singapore."