On any given day, Vince Sabatini tests the safety of a car’s controllers with a hardware in-the-loop (HIL) simulator, wires flooding in and out of the complex contraption. But the beginnings of his engineering career started with a far simpler tool: a pen.
Vince, a technical support engineer at dSPACE, Inc., wrote the proposal for Embry-Riddle University, his alma mater, to qualify for EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge. It was Embry-Riddle’s first ever attempt to become involved with Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC).
For Vince, this proposal – along with his team’s fourth place win in Year One – was one of his greatest EcoCAR accomplishments. Embry-Riddle’s engineering program was only five years old when the team applied, which meant they had to operate with limited resources and experience.
Beyond earning real-world engineering experience from EcoCAR, Vince gained lifelong friends. “Teams in EcoCAR are a family,” he says. To this day, he still stays in touch with many of those he met during the competition. With EcoCAR 2 recently beginning, he offers some advice for new participants.
“Don’t underestimate anyone or anything. Even a task that seems simple can end up becoming very complicated very fast,” Vince says.
But Vince isn’t complaining. He jokes that his post-EcoCAR career offers much better pay with much better hours.
Since EcoCAR, he’s worked for the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition, broadening his communications background and establishing a stronger social media presence for the organization. Today, while working for dSPACE, he spends most of his work days on site at GM’s Milford Proving Ground. He also serves as a dSPACE mentor for the Embry Riddle and University of Washington EcoCAR 2 teams.
Vince is very excited to be involved with EcoCAR 2 for several reasons, including being an AVTC and Embry-Riddle alumnus. But the program’s largest draw for him is the ability to bring dSPACE’s hardware and software to the students.
“Since the biggest benefit of the competition for students is hands-on engineering with industry standard tools and equipment, it is very appropriate that the students will work with dSPACE simulators and rapid prototype controllers. dSPACE has been a leading supplier of simulation tools for over twenty years, and our products are used by all of the major automakers, including General Motors, so it only makes sense that we would sponsor and mentor the next generation of automotive engineers with our equipment,” he said.
Check out the video below to see Vince’s interview about EcoCAR 2 and his explanation of HILs!