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Rough and rugged
Trine University mechanical engineering senior Christopher Peters drives his team’s basic utility vehicle during the Institute for Affordable Transportation’s BUV competition in Zionsville April 15. His teammates, from left, Ryan Weldon, Skip Patteuw and Michael Abbott watch.
Trine engineering team earns third place at national BUV competition
ANGOLA, Ind. — Four Trine University senior mechanical engineering students drove away with third prize at the Institute for Affordable Transportation’s Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) Competition in Zionsville April 15 and 16.
Ryan Weldon of Angola, Skip Patteuw of Jasper, Mich., Michael Abbott of Fremont, Ohio, and Christopher Peters of Greenfield applied to compete in the national contest earlier this school year. As part of their senior capstone project, they designed and built the BUV that they used in the competition.
“The competition harnesses the creative energy of college students from across the nation in an effort to develop a simple, low-cost utility vehicle that can benefit low-income people in rural areas of developing countries,” the organization’s website said. “There is always room for improvement when a model needs to stand up to the rugged, rural landscapes of countries in Africa and Central America.”
During the fall semester, the team developed concepts for the BUV, based on standards set forth by the institute. The vehicle had to be able to carry 1,500 pounds, carry 2X6 boards underneath the bed and cost less than $1,500, including the engine. In addition, the vehicle had to be able to drive through a mud pit, maneuver in a mogul field and round an endurance track.
“This vehicle is aimed at helping the institute develop vehicles for Third World countries,” said Brett Batson, Ph.D., who oversaw Trine’s project. “It is meant to be a budget vehicle, a simple mover of people and goods that can handle all terrain.”
After developing and testing concepts last semester, the team set to work building the BUV this spring. They purchased rectangular tubing and made a frame and reused some old axles and a transmission.
Professor Pavan Karra accompanied the students to the competition and said they were one of only seven teams (of 15 that competed) whose vehicle was still running at the end of the event. In addition to receiving third place overall, the students also won first prize in the sled pull competition and second place in the endurance test. Teams from Arkansas, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama also competed.
“This was a design project, not a welding project,” Batson said. “I made sure they did the engineering, and they produced a good design. I am very pleased with their accomplishments. They worked hard and put in a lot of hours. Their results were quite good.”