PMMI Skills Fund: Putting Creativity to the Test with SICK LiDAR Technology

Case Study #2 – Putting Creativity to the Test with SICK LiDAR Technology


Support for student innovation and achievement in automation and technology.


Supported by the PMMI U Skills Fund, SICK, Inc. developed the TiM $10K Challenge, where students develop an industry-changing product using LiDAR technology and can win $10,000 and a trip to Germany. The challenge was created for the 2018-2019 school year to support innovation and student achievement in automation and technology. Teams who signed up for the challenge received a 270 degree LiDAR sensor and accessories from SICK’s TiM series. The challenge was to solve a problem, create a solution or bring a new application to any industry that could utilize SICK LiDAR.


The LiDAR sensor (TiM) provided to teams utilizes a rotating pulsed laser to calculate distances to its surroundings based on the time-of-flight principle. The integrated Ethernet interface allows for remote monitoring, measurement and navigation which presented a ton of possibilities for the teams.

SICK received submissions ranging from extremely creative, like using LiDAR on an amusement park ride, to very practical, like pothole detection. Three winners were selected:

  • First Place – Foreign Object Detection on Airport Tarmacs (Texas A&M University Team 2)
  • Second Place – Visual Impairment Walking Aid (Texas A&M University Team 1)
  • Third Place – Low-Friction Test Bed for CubeSats (Purdue University)

Learn more about the winning ideas on Sick's Blog.

SICK also wanted to identify and hire talent as an outcome of the contest. Currently, the company has one of the winners in contact with HR. The contest also brought general brand awareness and recognition to SICK.

What You Can Do:

You too can support regional students with the help of the PMMI Skills Fund.

Created by PMMI, the PMMI U Skills Fund is a resource intended to help you form meaningful partnerships with regional two- to four-year colleges, universities and/or technical/vocational schools, as well as other educational programs in your area.

The PMMI U Skills Fund will match your company’s contributions up to $50,000 per year to regional education programs of your choice.

Whether you partner with a school to help strengthen an industry related program or create a course, join forces with a STEM summer camp, coordinate a group of students to bring to PACK EXPO or choose to invest in the future workforce in multiple ways throughout the year, the PMMI U Skills Fund is here to assist you with the financial obligations that come from these types of initiatives.

For more information and to apply, contact Kate Fiorianti, senior manager, education, PMMI at [email protected] or 571.266.4406.