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This week, we are featuring a mentor from National Instruments (NI), another EcoCAR platinum sponsor! National Instruments is providing Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) support to 9 of the 17 EcoCAR teams. Two of the teams, Embry-Riddle and Virginia Tech, are also are using National Instruments’ Software-in-the-Loop (SIL) solution for their projects.

Stephen Barrett is a systems engineer at National Instruments where he provides engineering support services that include: pre-sales concept development, benchmarking, on-site training and consulting, and creating software add-on components for NI’s real-time testing platform. Stephen is a former member of the Texas Tech University Challenge X team and has been assisting the EcoCAR teams since the competition kick-off in 2008.

“I really enjoy participating in the EcoCAR program as a mentor. I’ve been able to leverage my successes and failures as a student and my real-world experiences to better advise the teams. The applications the teams are using are quite challenging and it’s been rewarding to see how quickly they apply the right tools and technologies to solve problems.”

Stephen Barrett as a student on the Texas Tech Challenge X team in 2008


EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge today announced that three of the competition’s Platinum Sponsors, dSPACE, National Instruments and The MathWorks, are providing more than $2,300,000 of cutting edge hardware and software tools to help student teams design the green cars of the future. EcoCAR teams learn real-world automotive engineering practices through the use of Model-Based Design and graphical system design technologies that include hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and software-in-the-loop (SIL), which help to bring the students’ vehicle visions from concept to the road. Students will unveil their final designs at the competition finals in Toronto on Friday, June 12, 2009.

Read the full social media release here.

Watch Related Videos About HIL Below



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From time to time, Inside the Green Garage blog will spotlight EcoCAR sponsors with “video blogs” that provide more personal looks at the people and companies behind EcoCAR and the Green Garage. Hopefully these videos blogs will spark more discussion about the technologies in use throughout the competition and lead to more questions about the team designs.

For our first few video blogs, we arranged to speak with sponsors attending SAE Congress 2009 in Detroit. Our first conversation is with Paul Smith and Shaun Kalinowski of The Mathworks. They shed light on the importance of “model-based design” and explain the concepts of hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and software-in-the-loop (SIL). Pay particular attention to the Paul’s answer about “making math cool again.”

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