The headline sponsors are the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors, and MathWorks, and the challenge is managed by Argonne National Laboratory, making EcoCAR the ultimate training ground for future leaders in the automotive industry.
“The future of transportation and mobility is evolving and bringing forth new technologies, challenges, and opportunities,” said Acting Assistant Secretary, Cathy Tripodi. “The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge allows students to develop innovative technologies to keep America at the forefront of this changing landscape and provide consumers convenient, cost-effective options for personal mobility.”
EcoCAR is a collegiate automotive competition aimed at developing a highly skilled, domestic workforce by providing hands-on experience designing and building next-generation mobility solutions to meet future energy and mobility challenges. Participating teams will apply advanced propulsion systems, electrification, SAE Level 2 automation, and vehicle connectivity to improve the energy efficiency of a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer - all while balancing factors such as emissions, safety, utility, and consumer acceptability. SAE Level 2 automation refers to a vehicle that combines automated functions, like acceleration and steering, but the driver must remain engaged with the driving task and monitor the environment at all times.
EcoCAR teams will use onboard sensors and wireless communication from the vehicles surrounding environment to improve overall operation efficiency in the connected urban environment of the future.
General Motors will provide each team with a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer, which they have four years to design, integrate and refine into a new, advanced technology, energy-efficient mobility solution for the car-sharing market. Teams will follow a real-world vehicle development process to meet rigorous technical constraints throughout the four-year competition, which will conclude in the summer of 2022.
A foundational principle of EcoCAR is the use of Model-Based Design, a mathematical and visual design approach using MATLAB and Simulink that enables users to quickly and cost-effectively manage projects, collaborate on designs, and develop complex embedded systems.
To be successful, universities will need to recruit a diverse team of students and faculty, spanning many engineering disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, computer and software engineering, as well as communications, marketing and project management. This multi-disciplinary emphasis imitates a real-world automotive industry environment and provides graduates the technical and leadership skills needed to enter the field fully prepared for careers that will help shape the energy and mobility industry for years to come.
The participating universities include:
EcoCAR builds on a 30-year history of DOE AVTCs that exemplify the power of public-private partnerships in providing hands-on skills to promising, young minds ready to enter the workforce. AVTCs influence and shape engineering curriculum at the university level to cultivate future transportation leaders and enhance the North American engineering workforce.
Other participating sponsors include: NXP Semiconductors, Inc.; National Science Foundation; Intel Corporation; American Axle Manufacturing; Robert Bosch, LLC; PACCAR, Inc.; dSPACE, Inc.; Siemens PLM Software; Denso International America; Horiba; Delphi Technologies; California Air Resources Board; Proterra, Inc; tesa Tape; Vector North America, Inc.; The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.
For more information about the student engineering program, the participating schools or the competition sponsors, please visit avtcseries.org.