One of my favorite sponsorship activities is the Challenge X competition, brought to us by our partner National Instruments (NI).
Seventeen teams were challenged to re-engineer a GM Equinox, a crossover sport utility vehicle to minimize energy consumption, emissions, and greenhouse gases while maintaining or exceeding the vehicle's utility and performance. Year 1 focused on modeling, simulation, and testing of the vehicle power-train and vehicle subsystems selected by each school. Years 2 and 3 allowed the teams to actually integrate their re-designed components into a GM Equinox.
NI donated several tools to the competition, including their CompactRIO programmable automation controllers, which feature VxWorks 6.x. These were used in development and deployment of the hybrid engine controls.
This year's competition was won by Mississippi State University. According to the press release, their design achieved a whopping 48% improvement over the production vehicle. You can find out more from the NI VI Roadshow blog, where there is some cool video of the cars in action.
Congratulations to all the participants and nice to know the next batch of embedded engineers are solving some important problems.
By the way, we co-sponsor the Embedded Technology Forum series with NI and SolidWorks in cities around the world. If you find yourself in Sunnyvale on Thursday June 14, this year's Bay Area session is hosted by NI's Founder and CEO, Dr. James Truchard. If you've never had a chance to hear Dr. T speak, you're in for a treat.