The all-new, 2019 Chevy Blazer crossover utility vehicle has been selected as the vehicle of choice for the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge – a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored competition that will see twelve universities modifying the vehicle to squeeze more efficiency out of it. The competition is brand-new, and is sponsored by the U.S. DoE, General Motors, and MathWorks – a private corporation that sells math computing software.
The competition is somewhat unique in that it will extend over the next four years, concluding in the summer of 2022. Teams will incorporate advanced, eco-friendly propulsion systems including electrification, SAE Level-2 autonomous driving technology, and connectivity in order to improve the driving efficiency of the 2019 Chevy Blazer as much as possible.
SAE Level-2 autonomy describes any system in which control over acceleration, braking, steering, and the like can be taken over by an integrated hardware/software system, but where the driver must be ready to resume control at all times.
At the same time, teams will have to balance any efficiency gains against the vehicle’s emissions, safety, utility, and public acceptability, so that the end result is something that could – in theory – actually be at home on U.S. roads. More precisely, competing universities will be given the task of developing the Chevy Blazer into a crossover that might be acceptable for use in the carsharing market.
“The future of transportation and mobility is evolving and bringing forth new technologies, challenges, and opportunities,” says Cathy Tripodi, Acting Assistant Secretary at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge allows students to develop innovative technologies to keep America at the forefront of this changing landscape and provide consumers convenient, cost-effective options for personal mobility.”
Dan Nicholson, GM’s Vice President of Global Propulsion Systems, says that General Motors supports EcoCAR because “students gain tremendous technical insights, leadership skills and hands-on experience while competing” in Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions like this one. “The challenges and solutions these students will develop working with their Chevrolet Blazers align with GM’s path to zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”
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