University of Tennessee has Future in Trucks with Instrumentation Award

6/18/2003 - National Instruments awarded a team of University of Tennessee engineering students the Most Innovative Use of Virtual Instrumentation award at the FutureTruck 2003 competition. The team used an innovative virtual instrumentation approach by combining NI LabVIEW Real-Time software and Compact FieldPoint industrial measurement and control hardware to simulate, design, test and implement their hybrid control system in a re-engineered 2002 Ford Explorer.

Using National Instruments virtual instrumentation technology, the Tennessee team redesigned a standard, midsize Ford Explorer into a more environmentally friendly vehicle with higher fuel economy and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The team won the award for its effective use of virtual instrumentation throughout the design cycle of the hybrid electric vehicle.

"The ease of use and flexibility of LabVIEW Real-Time and Compact FieldPoint proved vital to the development of our vehicle's data acquisition and control system," said David Smith, team leader of the University of Tennessee FutureTruck team. "We used LabVIEW throughout the entire design process from initial system simulation to implementing the powerful, parallel hybrid control system."

NI is a major sponsor of FutureTruck, a four-year engineering competition focused on making sport utility vehicles more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. FutureTruck student teams re-engineer SUVs into lower-emission vehicles with at least 25 percent increased fuel economy while preserving the vehicle's performance, utility, safety and consumer acceptability. Students from 15 top North American universities participated in the FutureTruck 2003 competition from June 2 to June 12 at Ford's Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, Mich. Primary sponsors of the FutureTruck 2003 competition include the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Ford and the Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Transportation Research.

"National Instruments is committed to supporting educational initiatives in engineering and science," said Ray Almgren, NI vice president of product marketing and academic relations. "Students participating in FutureTruck apply theoretical knowledge they gain in the classroom towards a real-world engineering challenge with project deadlines and constraints."

About FutureTruck
The Future Truck competition demonstrates how industry, government and academia can develop more energy-efficient and greener automotive technologies to improve the economy and the environment. The FutureTruck 2003 competition took place at Ford Motor Company's Proving Grounds in Romeo, Mich., from June 2-12, where judges evaluated vehicles on technical performance and design, including acceleration, trailer towing, off-road handling, on-road fuel economy and engineering design review. The competition culminated in a vehicle display and awards ceremony held in conjunction with Ford's Centennial Anniversary at Ford World Headquarters on June 13 in Dearborn, Mich. For more information about this unique competition, visit

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation -- a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for customers worldwide through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,000 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2002, the company sold products to more than 25,000 different companies in more than 80 countries around the world. For the past four consecutive years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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