The MathWorks, Ford, DOE Sponsor FutureTruck Competition

2/28/2003 - The MathWorks announced that for the third straight year, it is a major sponsor of FutureTruck, joining other longtime sponsors such as Ford Motor Company and the U.S. Department of Energy. FutureTruck challenges student-engineering teams from 15 North American universities to re-engineer a Ford Explorer for lower emissions and higher fuel economy, while maintaining performance, safety, and affordability. To mark its longstanding support for the program, The MathWorks has also established a special modeling and simulation competition for FutureTruck 2003. The MathWorks Modeling Award competition will be featured at SAE 2003 World Congress, which is being held March 3-6 in Detroit, Michigan.

"The MathWorks tools are critical to our student teams, since accurately modeling their systems is an essential step in developing a sophisticated control system that makes all the difference in the ultimate successful product," said Bob Larsen of the DOE's Argonne National Laboratory and director of FutureTruck. "Knowledge of MATLAB® and Simulink® are essential for engineering students worldwide in their training to become productive professionals. FutureTruck enables the students to use this multi-purpose software in a hands-on setting and is great preparation for a fast-track career."

Underscoring its commitment to advanced vehicle technology, The MathWorks established The MathWorks Modeling Award to encourage student teams to implement a model-based design approach that saves time and errors, improves understanding of the complex nature of a hybrid electric vehicle, and enables the synergistic operation of the various vehicle components. Using MATLAB, Simulink, and the PNGV Systems Analysis Toolkit (PSAT), the 15 FutureTruck teams will model and simulate subsystem and overall vehicle behavior; develop, implement, and test new control strategies; and assess and optimize component behaviors in the context of the overall vehicle. PSAT, a state-of-the-art tool built on MATLAB and Simulink for vehicle simulation and powertrain analysis, was developed at Argonne National Laboratory with support from Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler.

To compete for the Modeling Award, the FutureTruck teams will be judged on their abilities to develop MATLAB and Simulink models of the engine, motor, transmission, controllers, and other subsystems that result in a more energy-efficient vehicle. Participating teams will present progress reports to the panel of judges on March 6 at the SAE World Congress in Detroit. The session is open to all SAE conference attendees.

The MathWorks, which donated its software to each team, will announce the Modeling Award winners at the FutureTruck 2003 competition, which takes place June 2-12 at Ford Motor Company's Michigan Proving Ground in Romeo, Michigan.

"The MathWorks supports the technological, educational, and environmental advances that FutureTruck facilitates, which is why we have supported the competition for the past three years," said Cleve Moler, Chief Scientist at The MathWorks and creator of MATLAB. "We hope that our contribution to FutureTruck will encourage the ideas and skills of these students as they design innovative engineering solutions while improving the earth's atmosphere and saving natural resources."

SAE World Congress attendees are invited to visit The MathWorks in booth # 1814.

About Future Truck
FutureTruck is a unique four-year engineering program that brings together the resources of industry, government, and academia in a cooperative effort to address important environmental and energy-related issues posed by the growing demand for SUVs. FutureTruck student teams are challenged to redesign their vehicle for lower emissions and 25 percent higher fuel economy. This unique competition demonstrates how industry, government, and academia can develop more energy-efficient and greener automotive technologies to improve the economy and the environment. For more information about this unique competition, visit

About The MathWorks
The MathWorks is the world's leading developer of technical computing software for engineers and scientists in industry, government, and education. With an extensive product set based on MATLAB and Simulink, The MathWorks provides software and services to solve challenging problems and accelerate innovation in automotive, aerospace, communications, financial services, biotechnology, electronics, instrumentation, process, and other industries.

The MathWorks was founded in 1984 and employs more than 1000 people worldwide, with headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts. For additional information, visit

MATLAB, Simulink, Stateflow, Handle Graphics, and Real-Time Workshop are registered trademarks, and TargetBox is a trademark of The MathWorks, Inc.

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