Detroit NAIAS news 2009-01-20

Tomorrow is the fifth annual Automotive Education Day at the NAIAS. The event will host school groups from the Motor City and surrounding areas in grades 9-12 and invite them to explore the many different careers available in the automotive ...

Tomorrow is the fifth annual Automotive Education Day at the NAIAS. The event will host school groups from the Motor City and surrounding areas in grades 9-12 and invite them to explore the many different careers available in the automotive industry. In addition to lesson plans and one-on-one discussions with human resource representatives, students will also be able to participate in two new programs being offered by EcoCAR and Takata.

EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge is a three-year collegiate student engineering competition that focuses on vehicle integration of advanced propulsion technologies. The competition challenges 17 universities across North America to explore vehicle solutions that minimize energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while retaining the vehicle's performance and consumer appeal.

Students will design and build advanced propulsion solutions that are based on categories from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) regulations. Students are encouraged to explore a variety of solutions including electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cells. In addition, they will incorporate lightweight materials, improve aerodynamics and utilize alternative fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen.

Using a real-world engineering process modeled after GM's Global Vehicle Development Process (GVDP), teams will integrate their advanced technology solutions into a 2009 Saturn Vue crossover. The GVDP is the modeling simulation process currently used to develop all GM vehicles. This real-world approach gives students valuable hands-on experience in engineering practices and resource allocation. The EcoCAR competition is unique for its focus on modeling and simulation, as well as subsystem development and testing, rather than just hardware modifications.

EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge is established by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM) and is being managed by Argonne National Laboratory. More information is available at and photos at

The U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors are the headline sponsors for the EcoCAR competition. General Motors will provide production vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The U.S. Department of Energy and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, will provide competition management, team evaluation, technical and logistical support.

In addition, more than 30 industry sponsors provide participating teams with leading-edge math simulation software, automotive propulsion systems, programs and mentoring support to the students. EcoCAR sponsors include: the Government of Canada; A123 Systems; dSpace, Inc.; The MathWorks, National Instruments; Freescale Semiconductor; AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc.; National Science Foundation; MotoTron Corporation; Sensors, Inc.; Snap-On, Inc.; Renewable Fuels Association; Siemens PLM; Robert Bosch, LLC; Delphi Foundation; EcoMotors; and CarSim by Mechanical Simulation.

By sponsoring advanced vehicle engineering competitions like EcoCAR, GM, the Department of Energy and other industry sponsors are helping to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers. EcoCAR follows the successful student engineering competition, "Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility," also sponsored by GM and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Takata, a world leading automotive safety supplier and the leading global manufacturer of automotive safety belts, is bringing its teen Safe Driver program to NAIAS Cobo Center on January 21st. The Safe Driver program is designed to teach teens in a fun way the importance of safe driving behaviors. With a hands-on driving simulator, the Wii Driver Distraction Challenge, game show "Are You Smarter than a Crash Dummy," and more, the Safe Driver interactive program focuses on the basic driving behaviors that can reduce accidents and save lives. Over the past year, Takata has taken the program to several local high schools, the YMCA, the Woodward Dream Cruise and more. Takata is delighted to be participating at the 2009 North American International Auto Show's Automotive Education Day in Detroit. Takata's North American headquarters is located in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

-credit: naias

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