UT Team Selected For Auto Competition

KNOXVILLE — A student engineering team from the University of Tennessee is one of 17 schools chosen for a three-year national automotive research and development program.

Friday’s announcement of UT’s selection comes on the eve of a UT team’s participation in the FutureTruck competition next month in Detroit.

Since 1989, UT student teams have won four of 12 competitions they entered and placed second and third in two others. The wins came against some of the nation’s best universities.

Next up for the UT team is Challenge X, which will give students the opportunity to participate in hands-on development of automotive propulsion, fuels, material and emission-control technology.

Participating teams receive a General Motors vehicle for modification and $10,000. Teams also will be eligible for additional parts from GM and software and hardware from other Challenge X sponsors.

At Friday’s announcement, UT officials honored Dr. Jeff Hodgson, who served as faculty advisor in past competitions. Hodgson is retiring as a professor of mechanical engineering and was honored by UT President Joe Johnson and Dr. Way Kuo, UT dean of engineering.

Over the last 15 years, approximately 400 UT students have participated in automotive competitions and UT has received money and other resources totaling more than $2.6 million.

Dr. David “Butch” Irick is advisor for this year’s FutureTruck entry and will serve in that role for Challenge X.

Among universities participating in Challenge X are Michigan, Wisconsin-Madison, Texas, California-Davis, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Penn State. General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy are primary sponsors.