MathWorks’ EcoCar: The NeXt Challenge competition, which tests teams’ ability to employ model-based design tools to build an advanced technology vehicle, has wrapped up its Year 2 Finals. A key winner was Ohio State University, which nabbed MathWorks’ Crossover to Model-Based Design Award 2010, chosen out of 16 teams from the United States and Canada for its innovative use of modeling and simulation.
The Crossover to Model-Based Design Award recognizes EcoCAR teams that exhibit the most creative application of MathWorks software products, including Simulink and MATLAB, to help achieve the competition’s overall objectives. Established by the United States Dept. of Energy (DOE) and General Motors and managed by the Argonne National Lab, the three-year competition challenges teams to reduce the environmental impact of SUVs by improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions, while retaining the vehicle’s performance and consumer appeal. The task is to reengineer a donated 2009 Saturn Vue and explore advanced propulsion and clean vehicle solutions, including full-function electric, range-extended electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell technologies. Rather than be a forum for promoting new car design, the challenge is really about fostering and nurturing a new generation of engineers as all participants have to comply with real-world engineering processes.
Teams are evaluated throughout the overall vehicle development process, from plant modeling, controls design and tuning to data analysis, visualization, and hardware implementation. Runners-up for this year’s award are Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN), and Mississippi State University (Starkville, MS), which also placed first in the overall Year Two competition.