Nova Scotia

Teen impresses GM with car anti-rollover design

A science fair project by a Nova Scotia student is getting some attention from GM Canada.

A Nova Scotia student's invention to prevent cars from rolling over is getting some attention from GM Canada.

Brandon Fillmore, 14, came up with his design for a science fair. It places an air-pressured spring at each wheel of the vehicle. As the car leans, the outside springs pump up, levelling out the body of the car so it won't roll over.

Brandon, a student at Bible Hill Junior High, said it's very different than other systems on the market.

"The closest thing would probably be StabiliTrak, which General Motors uses now. But it uses brakes to make up during emergency situations, whereas this would prevent them," he said.

Kevin Sibley was floored when he saw Brandon's design. The engineering professor at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College reviewed the teen's project.

"I've never seen anything like that. I've seen active suspension systems and so forth, but I've never seen anything that simple," Sibley said.

"A fellow like that, that's in Grade 9, that can think conceptually like that is very rare. I've been teaching engineering students for over 20 years and I would stack him against a first-year engineering student right now."

Sibley said car companies like simple systems because they're cheaper and need less maintenance.

Brandon sent his design to GM Canada. He expected a short form letter but got a long response from a lead engineer.

"He really put some thought into it. He said that General Motors has been looking for something like this for quite a bit and there's a couple of things he wants me to include," Brandon said.

The senior project engineer who reviewed the teen's work told CBC News it was very impressive. He didn't say whether GM wants to investigate further.

Brandon was inspired to continue working. He's now determined to see the invention through the patent process.

"One day, it might be on the GM cars, if it works out good," he said.