Engineering Students Land Most Innovative Design at National BUV Competition

Engineering students from the University of St. Thomas recently brought home two medals from the national Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) competition near Cincinnati, Ohio. The four senior engineering students - Nicole Muske, Joel Ooi, Jacob Seibert, and Tukker Willson - built the vehicle from scratch as part of their year-long coursework in the Senior Design Clinic. Their unique approach earned them the “Most Innovative Design” prize as a coveted conclusion to the competition.

Themed as a third-world water delivery mission, the competition is an endurance race over rugged farm terrain. Each vehicle must pump up to 150 gallons of water onto their vehicle from a pond, successfully navigate a muddy 2.2-mile course, return the water to the pond, and repeat the process for seven hours. The team that delivers the most water is declared the winner.

The St. Thomas team completed seven laps to take second place in the competition, beating teams from Purdue, Baylor, Trine, and the University of Cincinnati. Some vehicles were passing them on firm ground, but with superior traction and power, the St Thomas team was able to make up time in hilly and muddy sections while others were stuck or slowed by that terrain.

“The team did excellent work," laboratory manager and advisor Andrew Tubesing said. "Their work in the design and build phases, including extensive mock-ups and experimental fixtures resulted in a highly reliable design that proved hard to beat.”

According to Tubesing, St. Thomas' win was the first instance in the event's 18-year history a team participating for the first time earned a medal.

See photos and video from the event on the engineering Facebook page, and read about other Senior Design Clinic projects in our Newsroom story.

Members of the St. Thomas team pose with their BUV. (Photo provided by Andrew Tubesing)