Trine BUV team wins competition

CINCINNATI, Ohio — A Trine University team bested other universities at the 19th annual national Basic Utility Vehicle competition near Cincinnati, Ohio.

It marked the first time Trine has won the event outright.

Five schools took part in the annual event hosted the weekend of April 26 by the Institute for Affordable Transportation on a course owned by the University of Cincinnati. Each school designs a simple, low-cost vehicle that could hypothetically be used in a developing African country to perform daily tasks over rough terrain.

The vehicles must be capable of pumping water onto their vehicle from a pond, successfully navigating a muddy 2.2-mile course and returning the water to the pond. The team that transports the most water during the allotted time period is declared the winner.

Trine team members were senior mechanical engineering majors Nathan Lane from Solon, Ohio, Austin Snyder from St. Joe, Indiana, Erin Boles from Pittsboro, Indiana, and Damon Prifogle from Terre Haute, Indiana.

Working from Trine’s entry in last year’s competition, the team designed a new, lighter frame that reduced the weight of the vehicle by more than 400 pounds. They also developed a new drive linkage and detachable winch, ensuring the vehicle is more reliable and robust in the harsh conditions of rural areas.

Trine last placed in the competition in 2011, finishing third.

Photo: From left, Joe Thompson II, laboratory manager and instructor at Trine University, Nathan Lane, Austin Snyder, Erin Boles and Damon Prifogle with the first-place trophy from the Basic Utility Vehicle competition.