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  May 16th, 2022 | Written by

Toyota Material Handling, Cornell Engineering Announce Partnership on Innovative Forklift Learning Studio

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Partnership Aims to Fundamentally Change the Learning Experience by Connecting Theory and Application

Toyota Material Handling (TMH) and Cornell University’s College of Engineering have announced a unique partnership dedicated to the development of an innovative learning studio that incorporates Toyota equipment to elevate immersive engineering education to an entirely new level.

The Forklift Learning Studio will be built and developed during the summer with a goal of officially launching it to Cornell engineering students at the start of the fall semester in August.

Toyota and faculty from Cornell Engineering’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) began discussing this partnership late last year as a way to revolutionize the way engineering students learn by finding a more optimal balance between lecture and lab sessions.

David Erickson, the S.C. Thomas Sze Director of MAE emphasized that their students enjoy theory, but they are motivated by action building and testing, so They respond best to seeing engineering systems first and having the system motivate the theory they learn adding that the educational opportunity Toyota is enabling them to bring to life will fundamentally change the student experience by allowing them to see how each area of engineering connects to a larger system – in this case, a forklift.

Erickson intends for this to be the first of multiple learning studios. Each one will be designed to unify multiple courses and link students across classes and skill levels as they engage in work with real-world applications.

They will each incorporate a fully functional system – like a forklift – so that students can use it to perform experiments and model problems that connect to lessons from other classes. This set of lab redesigns is supported by an Innovative Teaching and Learning Award from Cornell’s Active Learning Initiative.

Toyota proposed that forklifts would be a perfect fit for such a learning studio and offered to donate the equipment and branding work necessary to bring the idea to life. Forklifts encompass all aspects of a mechanical engineering curriculum – they use internal combustion engines (thermofluids), bear weight (structural mechanics), and their use depends on dynamic stability (dynamics and controls).

This innovative learning space will provide students with opportunities to discover new principles and to build bridges – both between their courses and from their coursework to their careers. For the college, this model provides an efficient and effective use of space that allows engaging lab work to be spread evenly through the

In addition to modernizing the way students learn, the mutually beneficial partnership will expose them to new products and industries where they could build successful careers. The forklift industry is an essential part of the nation’s supply chain, and it is coming off a record year in 2021 with 334,000 units sold in North America.

The industry contributes more than $26 billion to the United States’ annual GDP and offers wide-ranging opportunities for engineers – including in automation.

Learn more about Toyota Material Handling, the products they offer, and the industry they represent at

About Toyota Material Handling

Toyota Material Handling offers material handling products and solutions, including forklifts, reach trucks, order pickers, pallet jacks, container handlers, automated guided vehicles, and tow tractors, along with aerial work platforms, fleet management services, and advanced automation engineering and design. Toyota’s commitment to quality, reliability and customer satisfaction, the hallmark of the Toyota Production System, extends throughout more than 230 locations across North America.

With access to an industry-leading lineup of material handling products, Toyota dealers are uniquely positioned to help solve wide-ranging challenges in warehousing and distribution. Built for every application, Toyota can provide the most complete set of solutions for material handling, automation, energy, advanced logistics, and warehouse optimization. For more
information or to learn more, visit

About the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The engineers at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) in Cornell University’s College of Engineering understand that the problems of the world will not be solved by doing things the way they have always been done. We know that real innovation comes from the marriage of deep technical
knowledge with creative imagination, and our program nurtures both the mind and the imagination.

MAE is home to Cornell’s undergraduate mechanical engineering degree program, as well as graduate programs in the fields of mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, and theoretical and applied mechanics. The more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students in MAE are taught and supported by tenure-track faculty, exceptional lecturers, and technical research and administrative staff members. Together, they are creating a better future. To learn more, visit