“Experiential learning provides opportunities for students to practice critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills in real-world situations,” said Ms. Diniah Dean, technology teacher. “This helps students develop the ability to think creatively and innovatively, which are valuable skills in any career.”
Dean is a champion of experiential learning. Today, Illinois Tech students visited the De La Salle Institute campus to host a coding workshop with 20 De La Salle aspiring engineering students. Illinois Institute of Technology earned a spot as one of only 13 teams to participate in the prestigious EcoCAR EV Challenge sponsored by the United States Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors, and MathWorks.
“I love seeing how engaged our students are about STEM learning when outside professionals and experts come to our school and share their insight, expertise, and passion for all things science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” noted Dean.
The EcoCAR EV Challenge is at the cutting edge of automotive engineering education and challenges students to engineer a next generation battery electric vehicle (BEV) that utilizes automation and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity to implement energy efficient and customer-pleasing features, while meeting the decarbonization need of the automotive industry.
EcoCAR teams will utilize a combination of on-board sensors and bidirectional V2X connectivity to implement energy efficient and customer-pleasing automated control features. Teams also will refine advanced powertrain along with charging and thermal systems to use grid electricity intelligently.
General Motors will provide each team with a 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ where teams will demonstrate the potential of advanced propulsion systems, connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies, and other innovative technologies to analyze energy efficiency. EcoCAR teams will utilize a combination of on-board sensors and bidirectional vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity to implement energy efficient and customer-pleasing automated control features. Teams also will refine advanced powertrain along with charging and thermal systems to use grid electricity intelligently.
The competition kicked off in Fall 2022 and concludes in 2026.
Illinois Tech EcoCAR provides students with an opportunity to gain industry-like hands-on experience with the design and manufacturing of advanced automotive systems while engaging and informing the community of E-mobility. The team strives to be part of the advancement of vehicle technologies and sustainable transportation through research and development while never losing sight of the needs of our stakeholders.
It’s mission is to transform transportation through smart, ethical, automated, and sustainable automotive technologies.
The Illinois Tech EcoCAR goals are:
- Vehicle: During the first year of the competition, our team will focus on the system’s energy efficiency. This will be accomplished by simplifying the CAV system’s compute model and by optimizing the powertrain system to take special consideration in maintaining energy-efficient practices. By doing this, we can ensure the vehicle’s maximum range is maintained. We will assess and evaluate this process at the end of the first year to determine if changes need to be made for future years.
- Team: During the first year of the competition, we will create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive team. We will achieve this by implementing inclusive recruitment, in-depth onboarding with follow-up, and team feedback opportunities. By doing this, we hope to foster a healthy working environment that promotes strong collaboration and fun! We will assess and evaluate this process at the end of the first year to determine if changes need to be made for future years.
- Competition: During the first year of the competition, we plan on completing all deliverables and getting all available points. We will achieve this by finishing deliverables promptly before the due date and reviewing them to ensure that they are completed to the best quality possible. By doing this, we can ensure that we are producing the best work possible and making a larger impact on the competition and community. We will assess and evaluate this process at the end of the first year to determine if changes need to be made for future years.
Dean lists the many benefits of the synergy between Illinois Tech and De La Salle Institute via the EcoCAR EV Challenge:
- Inspiration: The competition can inspire high school students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). By exposing them to cutting-edge technology and design challenges, it can motivate them to explore their interest in these fields and consider pursuing them in college.
- Learning opportunity: The competition can also serve as a learning opportunity for high school students, providing them with exposure to the real-world challenges of designing and building an eco-friendly vehicle. By participating in the competition, they can learn about sustainable transportation, alternative fuel sources, and the latest advances in vehicle technology.
- Community involvement: High school students can get involved in the EcoCAR EV Challenge by volunteering at local events or participating in outreach programs. This can help them develop their teamwork and leadership skills while also engaging with their local community and raising awareness about sustainability issues.
Overall, the EcoCAR EV Challenge can provide high school students with an opportunity to learn about sustainable transportation and the latest advances in vehicle technology, while also inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Established in 1988 by the U.S. Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory in partnership with the automotive industry, Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) are North America’s premier collegiate automotive engineering competitions and DOE’s flagship workforce development program for future automotive engineers. AVTCs engage students from middle school through higher education, creating a pipeline that both encourages students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and has seeded more than 30,000 graduates into industry, helping to build the diverse workforce needed for the U.S. to be competitive in the global marketplace.