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Computer Science student Brian Evans, 20

Computer Science student wins top prize at automotive tech competition

A student at the University of Exeter has become national champion of a university automotive technology competition.

Computer Science student Brian Evans has won Keyloop’s inaugural Dealer Tech competition, beating teams of students from five other universities.

Working independently, he produced a web-based maintenance and service tracking solution which would allow consumers and automotive workshops to track and deliver updates on car repairs and servicing.

Brian, 20, said: “Participating in the competition has been an amazing experience.

“It has brought together university students to imagine a better future for the automotive industry and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part.

“I haven’t thought about how I’ll spend my winnings – perhaps for a deposit on a house!”

Automotive technology company Keyloop ran the competition which saw 180 signups from students at Bath, Exeter, Buckingham, Warwick, Surrey and Southampton universities.

Since October, these students have been working to research, develop and demo a product or solution to improve the automotive retail experience in line with modern consumer demands and the digitalisation of the industry.

Tom Kilroy, CEO of Keyloop, said: “It was an extremely tough decision, but in the end, we thought that Brian’s concept was very effective in solving a real-world problem faced by dealerships, with good potential for scalability.

“He presented a well-thought-through idea that taps into the consumer trend for tracking and analytics, which is precisely the type of creative thinking and commercial initiative we were looking for.

“It has been brilliant to see the level of entrepreneurial spirit from the students, particularly at such an early stage in their professional lives.

“Keyloop is committed to welcoming fresh and diverse talent to our industry, and this competition has helped us achieve that.

“We have unearthed some exceptional creativity, showcasing our industry to some of this country’s most promising students.

“My congratulations to all teams involved for making this inaugural year of the Dealer Tech Competition such a success.”

Keyloop worked closely with the SETsquared Partnership to support student teams with their ideas.

SETsquared is the enterprise partnership between the University of Exeter and four other leading UK universities (Bath, Bristol, Surrey and Southampton) that provides support programmes to help students, researchers and entrepreneurs to turn ideas and innovation into successful businesses.

With the support of the Student Startups team at Exeter, students were able to work through problem-solution ideation and validation, alongside technological skill in order to present a workable, viable solution.

Date: 18 May 2021

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