By Missouri S&T undergrad team member Kyle Schaefer
My EcoCAR experience started my freshman year when I noticed a poster inviting students to join the EcoCAR team on campus. As luck would have it, I had recently decided to become an electrical engineer, and I was looking for a way to incorporate cars, a longtime hobby of mine, with my new career choice. I attended the first meeting and have been a member of the MS&T EcoCAR team ever since.
I’ve gained a great deal of practical electrical knowledge while working on EcoCAR. One of the most important things I’ve learned is how to transfer information from a wiring diagram into actual wires and connections. I learned that designing a wiring diagram is relatively simple, but implementing one into a car with limited space is challenging.
EcoCAR has also given me training in fail-safe system design. The overall design of our car’s controls was safety focused. At each control layer we had to implement fail-safes in order to prevent a loss of control in the vehicle. More than any one specific learning experience, EcoCAR has helped me understand just how enormous an undertaking it is to create a production vehicle. The program has been one of the defining experiences of my college education, and I will certainly apply the lessons I’ve learned to my career beyond college.