Safety and Technical Inspections
The purpose of Safety Tech is to ensure the safety of competition vehicles as well as their compliance with key competition rules necessary for the smooth execution of competition. Additionally, this inspection will assess whether a team’s vehicle has met the 65% buyoff requirements as dictated by the EcoCAR VDP. The inspections also offer a valuable opportunity for team members to learn about and familiarize themselves with the inspection process and content in order to prepare for future years of the competition.
The inspection is conducted by a team of experienced engineers and technicians from Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and GM. A comprehensive inspection log that is derived from the NYS Rules is used by the inspectors to ensure a robust inspection. Team vehicles will be fully re-inspected at every competition event.
Shakedown and On-Road Safety Event
The Shakedown and On-Road Safety Event tests the car to ensure it drives in a safe, predictable manner before a team can advance to the remaining dynamic events. At this stage, teams can still go back to the garage and make changes if necessary.
For shakedown, a General Motors driver will drive the car under 25 mph to test the overall vehicle functionality and steering while the team records a data file of the tests. For on-road safety, the General Motors driver will test high and low speed stability and braking.
While this event is only worth 10 points, it serves as an entry ticket to all other dynamic events.
Emissions & Energy Consumption Event
The Emissions and Energy Consumption event accounts for 150 points, more than other event. Prep work occurs during the day and the driving portion occurs at night. Once the vehicle is ready for testing, it will undergo a 5-point drive cycle emulating the EPA’s 5-point drive cycle.
Measurements will occur before, during and after the driving portion, calculating:
- Total Energy Consumption
- Well-to-Wheel Petroleum Energy Use
- Well-to-Wheel Criteria Emissions
- Well-to-Wheel Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Acceleration & Braking Event
For the Acceleration and Braking Event, teams will drive their Camaro with a General Motors observer in the passenger seat. A Virtual Box, or V-Box, provided by General Motors will track acceleration times, vehicle speeds and stopping distances. For each lap, a team member will:
- Accelerate from a complete stop to 65 MPH as quickly as possible to capture the 0-60 MPH acceleration
- Accelerate from 50 MPH to 75 MPG as quickly as possible to capture the 50-70 MPH acceleration
- Brake from 65 MPG to a complete stop as quickly as possible to capture 65-0 MPH stopping distance
The Handling Event measures how well each team’s Camaro handles when driving around a circular track while accelerating. The vehicle should not exhibit excessive sliding or body lean. A V-Box keeps the scoring objective, measuring for vehicle weight distribution, spring and bar selection and tire performance.
The Autocross Event determines how each team’s Camaro handles when navigating through a cone course. Each run is timed and scored to evaluate the vehicle’s balance and stability at higher than average maneuvering speeds.
After three scored laps, the teams will get to participate in team fun runs, production fun runs and hot laps. It’s an opportunity for team members to see how their driving stacks up against a General Motors professional driver and how their vehicle fairs against a production Chevrolet Camaro.
Ride Quality Event
For this event, a General Motors ride and handling engineer will subjectively evaluate the Camaro’s ride quality. Each vehicle will drive along the same course, which contains ride swells, cracked and broken pavement, chatter bumps, waddles, spalled concrete and rail road crossings. To score each performance category, the engineer will use a General Motors Universal Testing Standards scoring procedure.
AVL DRIVE Quality Event
AVL DRIVE, a tool designed for objective analysis and quality control based on driver experience, will be used to determine the vehicle’s ability to match the target acceleration response map. In other words, when a driver presses down on the pedal, does the car’s acceleration match driver expectations? A variety of other drive quality metrics will be calculated using AVL DRIVE for this event.
ADAS System Evaluations
This event tests the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Evaluations built by the teams. Teams will set up camera systems aided by their computer vision algorithms in a designated vehicle. The vehicle will drive at low speeds, pass signs, change lanes and approach vehicles from behind. Teams will be judged on how well their algorithms, when implemented in both a monocular camera NXP S32 system and a stereo camera system of their choosing, can detect, track and give range estimates for vehicles, lanes, pedestrians and signs.
Consumer Appeal Event
For the Consumer Appeal Event, judges will assume the role of a prospective customer at a dealership. Teams will first orient the judges with their consumer target market, followed by judges taking a test drive, asking open-ended questions and exploring vehicle features. Judging will measure all aspects of the car relating to consumer appeal, such as seats, interior trim, exterior appearance, driver cockpit and controls, trunk and powertrain.
Vehicle Design Review (VDR)
For the Vehicle Design Review, team members will give a walk-through of their vehicle as a whole. They will detail how they designed, implemented and refined critical components of the vehicle, making note of unique features and providing rationale for design decisions. Teams will communicate how team goals and consumer target market influenced their decisions and where the vehicle stands in terms of vehicle development process. Ultimately, the event enables teams to show government and industry experts how their team met vehicle development process goals and is on track to meet the vehicle technical specifications they set in Year 1.
During the Mechanical Presentation, team members will communicate how they moved from the design phase to integration and refinement, while explaining how a sound engineering methodology informed their approach. They will highlight key components, such as the Energy Storage System, driveline components, thermal system, powertrain mounts, overall packaging, fuel system and more. They’ll end by identifying one major system of the design and opening it up for a formal design review.
Electrical and Computer Engineering presentation
For the Electrical and Computer Engineering Presentation, teams will show how they finalized any remaining integration and Energy Storage System work, created and used an electrical system test plan, and executed a variety of ADAS activities. When discussing the electrical system, teams will demonstrate how they collected and used crucial data to identify areas of their electric system that either needed improvement or was performing well and thus validated the design decisions they made previously. Teams will also illustrate and discuss the behavior of the high voltage system during normal driving. For the ADAS portion, teams will explain their rationale, evaluation process and implementation of the technology, as well as discussing two challenges they overcame or plan to ov
Control and SMS Presentation and Demonstration
The Controls Presentation event is designed to evaluate each team’s Year 2 controls design and integration activities. Teams will be assessed on the processes they used to facilitate rapid control code development and deployment on the HIL bench and in the vehicle. Each team will provide a summary of their control system implementation process and control system design. Specifically the major elements to be reviewed include: hybrid vehicle architecture and control system overview, powertrain component controller algorithm development, torque safety, and code development process maturity.
Innovation Presentation and Evaluation
The Innovation Presentation gives teams the chance to showcase the new or innovative technologies they’ve been working on and the innovative approaches they’ve taken. Team members will discuss how their innovations fit into the current technology landscape and provide analysis on how it might impact the industry and the market.
Project Status Presentation
During the Project Status Presentations, each team’s project manager will provide a comprehensive look at the current status of the project, highlighting areas in need of work. Rather than being judged on the achievements or set-backs of the project, project managers will be judged on their comprehension and command of the current status and future direction of their team. They will elaborate on how they navigated the vehicle development process of Year 3 and how to act on lessons learned moving into Year 4.
For the Communications Presentation, the communications manager will discuss the team’s strategies, research, implementation, results and lessons learned pertaining to each outreach event conducted during Year 3. They will also identify how the strategic use of social media can bolster outreach events, indicating correlations between social media activity and outreach event shortcomings and successes.
Innovation Topic Proposal
Throughout Year 3, teams will research and develop around a topic they deem unique and innovative. Through the Innovation Topic Proposal, they can justify why they believe this topic relates to competition goals, will enhance the automotive industry and will benefit the consumer. They should also identify risks, establish a timeline and give a background on research that exists around this topic and their familiarity with it.
Fall Swimlane Report
The Fall Swimlane Report marks the moment where teams should have fully integrated all components into their vehicle. The report spans all swimlanes, meaning it touches on work from the mechanical, electric, SMS, controls and project management teams. This gives teams the chance to document their work before moving into optimizing the vehicle for final competition.
Preliminary Innovation Report
The Preliminary Innovation Report gives teams a chance to communicate the progress they’ve made on their innovation topic, as well as provide a full literature review. By defining and explaining their goals for the innovation topic, teams will be able to determine what steps they need to take for the remainder of the year and how they will measure the success of their work.
Fall Vehicle Evaluation
For the Fall Vehicle Evaluation, teams will film a series of checks verifying basic vehicle functionality and the safety of the High Voltage System and Energy Storage System for electrical integrity. At this point, teams should have a fully integrated vehicle and be ready to begin refinement.
ADAS Stereo Vision Tool Check
The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems vision tool check accesses the fundamental skills teams will need in order to complete vision processing and hardware development tasks later in the year. Using cameras and MATLAB/Simulink or another platform, teams will collect real-world test footage. Next, they will label the footage with directly observed information and use the information to test and refine various computer vision algorithms.
Vehicle Safety Binder Submission
The vehicle safety binder contains important safety information and documentation that must be kept with the vehicle at all times. Teams must keep the information up to date and ensure it reflects the vehicle and subsystems as built.
Pre-Competition Safety/Tech Inspection
The Pre-Competition Safety/Tech Inspection ensures the safety of vehicles and their compliance with key competition rules before teams travel to the proving ground. A team of experienced engineers and technicians from Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors will conduct the pre-inspections at each individual school. All vehicles will receive a full re-inspection at the competition.
Innovation Research Paper
The Innovation Research Paper focuses on the new or innovative technologies and unconventional approaches or risks the team faced while building its vehicle. Teams will also investigate how those innovations might impact the industry and the market. To measure each team’s progress, the judges will use goals set by the individual teams earlier in the year.
Spring Vehicle Evaluation
For the Spring Vehicle Evaluation, teams will film a variety of evaluations verifying they can safely operate their vehicles. The evaluations include performing a wide-open-throttle acceleration, demonstrating a hard brake and vehicle shift state capabilities, and charging the vehicle per competition standards.
The Execution Plan is a highly functional tool that project managers can directly use through Year 3 to help them manage the vehicle development activities. When writing the plan, project managers will identify and define the timeline and scope of what they must do to meet goals and milestones.
The Impact Report communicates the impacts and results of the competition to key stakeholders, including federal and state government agencies who partially fund Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions such as EcoCAR 3. The report covers alumni information, such as the percentage of former EcoCAR students who secured a job upon or before graduation, funding information, impacts on the university and impacts on the community.
The Communications Plan serves as the roadmap for all Year 3 communications efforts. Teams will lay out their goals and specify the actions they need to take to reach them. For this comprehensive report, they will also identify and research target audiences, articulate key messages and determine methods of measuring and evaluating success.
Youth Outreach Report
For the Youth Outreach Report, teams will need to demonstrate how the youth events they conducted in Year 3 increased STEM literacy and awareness of EcoCAR 3. The report should include the team’s strategy, research methods and rationale for the audience selected.