During the month of April EcoCAR teams put their Blazers to the test!
From April 1-15 teams underwent Vehicle Technical Inspections (VTI) locally at their universities. Organizers provided visual examples of how to complete some of the most critical VTI checks to ensure vehicle safety aligned with industry standards. Set up as a 48 hour window competition-like environment, team members assumed the role of Technical Inspectors and completed a full inspection of their integrated vehicles.
According to Jeffery Walker the ERAU EcoCAR Eagles’ PSI Lead, the team’s VTI was a success.
“Embry-Riddle’s VTI went well overall, with only a few problems found during the process. Seeing the vehicle do well through inspection was a great feeling for everyone on the team. The vehicle is in a good place in preparation for vehicle validation in May,” he said.
“Throughout the process we were able to ensure the car was safe to move forward into more aggressive and dynamic testing that is needed for vehicle validation,” added Walker. “The VTI process was a great learning experience for our younger members who have never been through a VTI at competition. Our team was able to see the standards that mimics real-world safety measures.”
Following VTI, teams conducted Spring Vehicle Evaluations (SVE) from April 15-28. SVE is an assessment of each team’s vehicle progress and challenges teams to execute events such as energy consumption, acceleration, braking, drive quality, and a CAV Capability Evaluation. This was the first time all teams had the opportunity to conduct a full dry run of dynamic events and were able to see their vehicles in action at more than a dozen unique locations across North America!
Collin Kellett, PSI lead for the WVU EcoCAR Team, was thrilled that their team was able to run their vehicle through competition test procedures.
“Our team had the opportunity to conduct our SVE at the Pittsburgh International Raceway. Some of the goals that the WVU EcoCAR team set were to validate that the car meets all of the Vehicle Technical Specification targets and to test the functionality of our CAVs systems and the electric motor. Through rigorous testing, we have been able to prove the functionality of all of these systems and are prepared for the Vehicle Validation Testing this May.”
In addition, the OSU team saw great success at their Spring Vehicle Evaluation.
According to OSU Communications Manager Emily Smith, “The OSU team had a successful Spring Vehicle Evaluation and were able to complete all our events over the span of a week at the Transportation Research Center. While the team did uncover a few hardware and software issues during testing, our team members were able to remedy the issues so we could quickly return to running events. With our Blazer being able to successfully complete all the events, while racking up 200 miles of full vehicle testing, our team is confident for going into the May Vehicle Evaluations with a reliable and robust vehicle.”
For teams like the University of Waterloo, being able to put their vehicles through inspection and testing has generated much excitement amongst team members.
“UWAFT is proud to have accomplished all Vehicle Technical Inspection checks and followed it up with two weeks of Spring Vehicle Evaluations,” said Asad Bhatti, UWAFT Project Manager. “The team drove 150+ track miles performing drive quality, acceleration, braking, energy consumption, and CAV evaluation tests. Participants drove from out of town to attend the testing and learned a great deal while adhering to all COVID safety measures. This was a rewarding break for team members who have been working remotely for most of the year, getting to see their work in action. The team spirit is stronger than ever,” he added.
Teams are now back at their respective universities and can utilize data gained from SVE testing to begin prepping for Vehicle Validation Testing which kicks off later this month.
AVTC Technical Project Manager Jesse Alley says, “We’re proud of our teams for persevering through numerous road bumps this semester and learning how to conduct vehicle inspections on their own. They’ve all made tremendous progress with their vehicles and we’re excited to see them all driving.” He adds, “Vehicle testing in April and May is the culmination of all the work teams put in over the course of this fraught academic year, so it’s really fantastic to see it all finally coming together.”
Check back in later this month for updates from Vehicle Validation Testing.
You can find photos from VTI and SVE below and on AVTC Flickr.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Mississippi State University
Ohio State University
University of Alabama
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
University of Washington
University of Waterloo
West Virginia University