A team of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will travel to Tennessee this month to race aerodynamically constructed bicycles as part of the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) East Competition.
The competition will be held April 21-23 at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee. Missouri S&T’s Human Powered Vehicle Team will compete against approximately 40 other teams from universities from around the world to design, build and operate a human-powered vehicle for practical urban use.
The competition is divided into four main events. Before the competition begins, the teams submit an innovation report and a design report, in which they explain how the vehicle was conceptualized and fabricated. A speed competition will demonstrate how fast the vehicle can travel in a head-to-head competition with other teams. Teams field both male and female riders.
The final component of the event is the endurance race. This event will place the team’s vehicle in an urban environment where they will have to maneuver through various road obstacles, such as hairpin turns, water hazards and speed bumps. The team will earn points in each category, which will then be totaled as part of its overall standings.
This year’s vehicle is a recumbent tricycle that is encased in a full carbon fiber shell. The trike has brake lights and headlights, as well as a roll bar to protect the cyclist in the event of a crash. It also boasts a custom electronics kit, that includes a GPS system and crash detection system that alerts the system’s emergency contacts that an incident has occurred. The shell is painted to look like an M-24 Chaffee, a U.S. Army tank used during World War II.
“Last year, our vehicle was painted like a B-24 airplane, and the team really got a good reception for it,” says Ben Lassanske, a team leader on the Human Powered Vehicle Team and a senior in mechanical engineering from St. Charles, Missouri. “So this year we are sticking with the historic military theme. Last year, we were able to get a photo of our vehicle with the real B-24 plane on display, so we hope to replicate that with this year’s build as well.”