Cologne students win with IDS, a stop mechanism that prevents car doors from hitting objects

"You may think your car can do everything, but every year, car doors that are opened onto parked cars or bollards cause thousands of cases of paint damage, strife, and stress. Our business idea, IDS, prevents this damage and will relieve you of all worry when getting out of your car—even in the tightest of parking spaces." That is how the team from Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule in Cologne introduced their business idea "IDS—Intelligent Door System" and won the German business@school final in Munich.

The winning team

IDS is a simple stop mechanism that can be installed in any car door and is connected with the respective sensor system or camera equipment: When a car door is opened, it stops just before hitting an obstacle, thereby preventing damage. At the same time, it allows you to lean against the door when you get out of the car, providing both convenience and protection. The stop mechanism is connected to the car door's check strap and stops it by means of a construction using strong electromagnets.

Vincent Gramlich (15), Marisa Jain (17), Laura Krieglstein (16), Severin Luhr (17), and Leona Schultz (17) convinced the high-caliber panel of judges at the final event in Munich. "A great product—why doesn't it already exist?" the judges had already wondered in the preliminary round. The students also responded perfectly to critical questions in the main round, such as "How did you come up with your idea?"; "What do your medium- and long-term plans look like?"; and "How will you adapt more strongly to the development cycles in the automotive sector?" The team from Cologne was representing the region Southern North Rhine-Westphalia, where it had reached the final round as one of the eight best school teams among a total of 300. The winning team from Cologne was coached by Nora Toutaoui (AXA).

The three winning teams received not only special prizes from Commerzbank, Ford, and Lufthansa, but also an invitation from BCG to attend the strategy workshop "The Future of School" in Berlin.

In his welcome speech, Carsten Kratz, Head of BCG Germany, said of the German educational system: "Of course there are opportunities for improvement; but today we have seen that there is also a solid foundation. It gives us great hope for the future when we see how the students apply the business know-how they have learned after one year of business@school in practice. They are creative and innovative, and have developed sound business ideas."

Ottobrunn and Riedlingen in second and third place
The team from Gymnasium Ottobrunn with Ralf Blöchinger, Philip Brinkmann, Naomi Harman, Dominik Lermer, Julius Pizzoni, and Marius Wunder (all 17) presented its startup idea "WALI—Water Alarm Indicator," a strap that warns parents if their child's head slips under water, thus providing more safety while bathing. Judge Ginka Christenson expressed her respect for the six students: "We were very impressed by your product. You have found a solution to every parent's nightmare: An additional pair of eyes that prevents a moment of distraction from ending in tragedy," she concisely explained the judges' decision.

Eva Augustin, Stefan Maurer, Nina Sautter, Jonas Schmauder, Annika and Jana Sonnenmoser, and Johannes Vogel (all 17) represented Gymnasium Riedlingen. They convinced the panel of judges with their business idea "advanced pot," a flowerpot with a smart watering system. Judge Sabine Eckhardt was very impressed: "A passionate presentation and a product that is as useful as it simple, can be used for a long time, and thus fully internalizes the sustainability mindset," was her verdict.

After the award ceremony, the students, teachers, coaches, and parents celebrated until midnight with an Italian buffet and music.

The participants

The Panel of judges