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MSU EcoCAR Team Wins Multiple National Mobility Challenge Awards

Contact person: Carl Smith

Members of the MSU EcoCAR team pose with the prizes they received at this month’s EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Year 4 competition in Arizona. Pictured are (front row, left to right) General Motors Mentor Gary Rushton; Oussama Oussi, graduate student in mechanical engineering, Starkville; Nathan Reynolds, Mechanical Engineering Junior, Petal; Ashutosh Shah, senior mechanical engineer, Starkville; Vance Hudson, Masters in Mechanical Engineering, Collierville, Tennessee; Jonah Gandy, electrical and computer engineering graduate, Madison; (second row, from left) Debi McNabb, staff advisor, project coordinator, MSU Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems; Debbie Alencar Oliveira, Senior Industrial Engineer, Brazil; Bailey Jose, graduate student in industrial and systems engineering, Olive Branch; Rachel Hendricks, MBA graduate, Hoover, Alabama; Mary Nielson Clinton, communications/public relations graduate, Germantown, Tennessee; (third row, from left) Jagdeo Singh, senior mechanical engineer, Laurel; academic advisor Randy Follett, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; Amine Taoudi, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, Morocco; Matthew Sinclair, Senior Mechanical Engineering, Mendenhall; and staff advisor Michael Gibson, Research Engineer III at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems. (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi — Mississippi State’s EcoCAR team recently returned to campus with plenty of prizes from this month’s EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Year 4 competition, including top management seats project overview, project status presentation and human-machine interface/user experience evaluation, and a MathWorks Model-Based Design Award.

The event was the culmination of a four-year challenge between 11 universities to improve the fuel efficiency, safety and consumer appeal of a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer through electrification, advanced propulsion systems and automated vehicle technology. The team’s vehicles have undergone a variety of tests and challenges, including technical inspections, dynamic test events and driving lessons. Teams were also evaluated in six technical pitches that demonstrated the viability of their designs to government and industry judges.

The MSU EcoCAR team took home nine accolades, including fifth place in the all-around, and Vance Hudson, a native of Collierville, Tennessee, who recently earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, was one of only two students in the competition to have won the Award of Excellence in Leadership award.

MSU Bagley College of Engineering Dean Jason Keith praised the team for their performance and said the program fully prepares students to enter the workforce and make an immediate impact in their chosen field.

“Over the four years of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, I have seen the impact of our students’ hard work on their career trajectory,” he said. “Team members have secured internships, full-time jobs, and other research positions at Mississippi State University and in industry across the country. Additionally, the leadership experience that EcoCAR students gain allows them to start their positions with higher salaries than their peers.

The full list of awards won by the MSU EcoCAR team includes:

—First place, project status presentation

—First Place, Overall Project Management

—First place, HMI/UX evaluation

—First Place, MathWorks Model-Based Design Award

—Second Place, HMI/UX Presentation

—Second place, presentation of papers

—Second place, CAV capability assessment

—Third place, PCM Presentation

—Fourth Place, Global Communications

—Fifth place overall

—Excellence in Leadership Award, Vance Hudson

“This team has suffered major challenges over the years, and at the start of this four-year competition, their specific goal was to re-establish a sustainable foundation to have a highly competitive team year after year,” said Randy Follett, Academic Advisor. of the team and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at MSU.

“As part of this, their goal was to have a vehicle capable of completing every event of the Year 4 Final Competition. Not only did they accomplish this task, but they were also the first team to complete every dynamic event of the week-long competitive event series in Yuma, Arizona. In doing so, they have reestablished Team MSU as a strong contender for the foreseeable future, with clear leadership development processes to continue the winning tradition of the EcoCAR EV Challenge, which begins this fall. I am incredibly proud of the hard work they have put in over the past four years and the successes that work has created for them, both competitively and personally. This was truly an honor to be associated with all of them,” Follett said.

Learn more about the MSU EcoCAR team and its projects by visiting

Visit for more information about MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering.

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