I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to be a part of the EcoCAR2 Year 2 Competition where I met some of the amazing future engineers in the photo above - like Nick Skadberg, Zach Stephens and Laura Nash. I was at the event to judge the communications outreach programs of the 15 universities competing. That's part of what makes EcoCAR such a unique student competition. Teams are judged on engineering, business and communication skills. It's not enough to have a good design if you can't package and present it in a compelling way to the market.
As part of the communications outreach, teams must reach out to inform and educate their local markets on cleaner energy and advanced automotive technologies. I was most impressed with the teams outreach to grade school students to not only educate but encourage them to consider a STEM career.
"Everything we do relies on cutting-edge technology,” said Gary Neal, department head with the Applied Research Laboratory and an adjunct professor in the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering department, who is one of the team’s faculty advisers. “It plays a huge role in the program. Whether it’s the complex computer programs we use or the online discussion boards, technology is key.”
The article notes that they used Siemens' NX software along with Mathworks to ensure system components fit and functioned properly. They also virtually tested the vehicle with the software. Here is the car in action: