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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI engineering students to compete in vehicle design competition

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 13, 2002 -- Five engineering students from the University of Rhode Island spent the school year designing and building an amphibious off-road vehicle. Last weekend they entered it in the Mini Baja vehicle design competition in Morgantown, W.Va. against 53 other teams from colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

The Mini Baja competition challenges engineering students to work as a team to design, build and test an off-road vehicle that is capable of negotiating rough terrain. It must also float and maneuver in water.

The URI team members are Adam Giuliano of Pawcatuck, Conn., Brian Lucchesi of Burrillville, Jesse Poulin of Foster, Richard Smith of Jamestown, and Jason Van Buren of Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

The first day of competition included judging for cost, sales presentation, engineering design and safety. "The judges represent a mock industrial company and base their decisions on the car that would sell the best," explained Zonqin Zhang, professor of mechanical engineering and advisor to the URI team.

Day two of the competition included tests of land and water maneuverability, acceleration and towing capacity. The final day is a four-hour endurance race over difficult terrain where teams are scored based on the number of laps they complete.

According to team captain Giuliano, the design of the vehicle was made to be both rugged and versatile so it would withstand the tough races. "Our car is ready to take on hill climbs, speed trials, moguls, towing and water maneuvering," he said. "We designed this car with all the events in mind, so that it would perform well all-around to win the most points possible.

"We’re trying out a new hydraulic drive system on this vehicle, very similar to that of rugged industrial bulldozers and backhoes. As difficult as it was, we overcame all design obstacles as a team. It was a very educational project that we are all very proud to participate in."

Sponsors of the URI team are Parker Hydraulics, Conanicut Marina and Prince Valves.
For Information: Todd McLeish 874-7892

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