The University of Tennessee’s EcoCAR team is made up of a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of different disciplines. The team in year four has students undergoing Master’s and Ph.D. programs in Mechanical Engineering, Systems and Controls, Program Development, Public Relations, Business Administration, and a variety of other areas. The team, led by one of the longest-standing and most decorated professors associated with AVTCs, Dr. David Irick, hopes to finish out the last year of this competition with a strong push in the standings. The University of Tennessee team won the first-ever AVTC competition in 1988 and has remained one of the top competitors ever since. This last year the Communications Team took great strides compared to previous years by finishing in second. Each swimlane works diligently to complete deliverables efficiently and effectively, but the team understands that there are other aspects of the competition outside of scoring alone. There is one overall mission that this team in particular values highly – the commitment of this competition to develop the next generation of skilled professionals that are prepared to lead and address the nation’s future transportation and/or energy challenges. This program has helped to accelerate the development of talented engineering, business, and communication students for decades, and the members of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville team understand the value that exists in that. We hope to share that with our local community and with students on campus to ensure that others get the opportunities that this competition provides.  

Year 4 Goals

Team Goal:

We hope to improve in the standings this final year in a variety of categories: growing on our communication team’s success from last year and improving in CAV’s and HMI/UX in particular. We aim to organize and leverage our smaller team to compete with the other universities with the goal of finishing in the top four in the overall standings. This will take a lot of work and strategy development from all the various team leads and swimlanes, but this year’s team is ready for the challenge!

 Technical Goals:

  1. As we move into the last year of the competition our technical goals fall in line rather heavily with the general hopes that the sponsors, The Department of Energy, and Argonne have for each team in this final year…to have refined, reliable, and proven propulsion and CAV systems. Landon Harris and the rest of the CAV team have been working on designing and simulating machine learning algorithms for adaptive cruise control. They are confident their designs are capable of integration and real-world practice. The acceptable level of integration for the final year is 90% and we plan to meet those expectations. For many of the students on this team, it is our last year as graduate students and the last year of the competition. We want to showcase the strength, resilience, and passion that students at UTK have before going into a variety of future careers. In many ways this is like a “last hurrah” and it is critical to make the last act the best one yet!
  2. We are putting a big emphasis this year on stronger communication and organization amongst the different swim lanes and between various leads. In the past, we feel that lack of communication and improper planning lead to some of our miscues on deliverables. We hope to implement better communication software, track deliverable planning, production, and completion across swimlanes, and plan for setbacks and problems ahead of time instead of reacting to issues as they arise. We hope that putting into place a more succinct overall communication strategy and deliverable plan will help our future AVTC competition teams at the University.

Additional Goals:

  • 100% internship, grad school, job placement
  •  Increasing team diversity and inclusion
  • Winning end of year sponsor awards


get involved

Are you interested in learning more or even joining a dedicated group of students at The University of Tennessee working together in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge?   Our multidisciplinary team includes students studying mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, business and communications. We are actively recruiting motivated students from the disciplines of computer science, controls, UX design, system safety, and communications. Students interested in learning more about how to get involved with the UT EcoCAR Mobility Challenge team, please email ecmc@utk.edu.   Check out our social media pages on instagram, @utecocarchallenge, and twitter, @EcoCarUTK, for opportunities and other updates about the team this year!

contact us


1512 Middle Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37996

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