The Ohio State University EcoCAR Team places second overall in the Year 3 Mobility Challenge competition

Posted: June 17, 2021

The Ohio State University EcoCAR team placed second overall in Year 3 of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge and earned several awards for exceptional technical work.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors, and MathWorks, the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge is a collegiate automotive engineering competition. It tasks 11 universities across North America to redesign the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer into an energy-efficient hybrid with semi-autonomous capabilities.

ecocar at computer

The team took home the U.S. Department of Energy Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Engineering Award which recognizes a team’s efforts in incorporating traditionally under-represented populations in STEM studies. They received the dSPACE Leadership in Validation Award, which is presented to a team based upon their profound use of dSPACE technologies in vehicle development. Finally, Ohio State’s EcoCAR team also earned the award for Best Drive Quality Testing and Best Connected and Automated Vehicle Systems Presentation.

The competition was held May 18 - 23 and included technical presentations and dynamic vehicle events. Unlike typical years, the competition was held in a mostly virtual setting with Ohio State’s presentations broadcasted from the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) rather than in person and dynamic events held at the Transportation Research Center (TRC) in East Liberty, Ohio. The team was honored to still have the opportunity to work alongside Virginia Tech University and West Virginia University at TRC.

EcoCAR working on Blazer

This competition signified the end of a unique year in the history of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition series. The 2020-2021 academic year began with heavy regulations in place regarding the global pandemic and marked the return of the team to the CAR facility after a six-month hiatus when Ohio State moved to completely virtual in March 2020. The team had to conform to a primarily virtual work environment and heavily alter their project plans after experiencing significant delays.

Over the course of the year, the team has achieved propulsion systems integration with the addition of their new vehicle battery pack and implementation of their student-developed controls system. The vehicle is now capable of operating without any outside assistance and can successfully performs all necessary dynamic tests such as 0-60 acceleration, 60-0 braking, drive quality, and energy consumption. Moving forward, this is allowing the team of 10 graduate students to begin refinement and implementation of their connected and automated vehicle strategies such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and lane change on demand.

“The EcoCAR competition challenges students on a new level of technical application," said Shawn Midlam-Mohler, Ohio State EcoCAR' s Faculty Advisor. "I am very proud of how the team members were able to apply themselves and rise to the occasion despite the uncertainties of the past year. There was a steep learning curve for everyone, but I feel everyone is encouraged by the success and ready to give the final year of their competition their all.”

Next year, the team will shift focus from the propulsion systems integration of their vehicle and will continue to develop their V2X strategies – a concept to connect the vehicle to smart infrastructure with the ability to communicate to other vehicles. This will be an exciting time as this form of vehicle connectivity should provide insight into the future of the automotive industry.

Written by Colin Knight, EcoCAR Communications Manager

Tag: ecocar