Basic Utility Vehicles for Rural Transportation

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Design & Drive Competition

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120x90-vehicle2.jpg The Institute for Affordable Transportation hosts an annual BUV Design Competition.   Since IAT was founded in 2000, the annual  student competition has provided an opportunity for the perfection of the BUV design. 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.  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.

9th Annual Student Design Competition

Student teams design and build these vehicles to compete in a series of tests and events to determine the best design.  Each team also plans an oral report aimed towards the judges and spectators. In the reports, students discuss the planning, building, and testing processes that each BUV went through prior to the competition. Many of the students work on the BUV as a senior capstone project at the end of their engineering degree. Because the BUV must account for a lack of infrastructure, the vehicles must pass a variety of tests during the competition including an obstacle course, mud pit, mogul field, and endurance track.

This year’s annual event, hosted by Yanmar Engine and Tuff Torq Corporation, was a huge success. Teams of engineering students from Arkansas, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, and Indiana came together after months of perfecting designs to fit the specifications of this year’s competition.  Each year the competition takes on a new focus and examines a particular function of the vehicle and design component.  The competition has continually brought together, people, ideas, energy, and expertise to further research and development for IAT.