Students Get High-Performance Boost from Siemens In-Kind Software Grant

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students were able to design and engineer a better high-performance hybrid car for the national EcoCAR 3 Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition, thanks to an in-kind software grant with a commercial value of $36 million from Siemens PLM Software.

“This software allows our students to design the car in 3-D and analyze different parts to predict how the products will react to real-world forces like vibration and heat,” said Dr. Patrick Currier, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus and a faculty adviser for the EcoCAR 3 team.

This May, Embry-Riddle’s team finished in second place overall in Year 3 of the U.S. Department of Energy’s EcoCAR 3, the team’s 4th consecutive top 5 finish.

“The team of over 50 students worked extremely hard all year and made use of their industry-standard engineering tools, including Siemens products, to achieve Embry-Riddle’s  best-ever finish,” said Currier.

The in-kind grant for Embry-Riddle includes Siemens PLM Software’s NX™ software, a leading integrated solution for computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE) and Teamcenter®. It was provided by the Siemens PLM Software’s academic program that delivers PLM software for schools at every academic level.

“The software is an invaluable educational tool for our team, and we are grateful to Siemens for their generosity and support,” Currier said.

EcoCAR 3 student teams, who compete annually throughout the competition’s four-year lifecycle, are tasked with redesigning a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a high-performance hybrid.

Embry-Riddle’s EcoCAR 3 team, known as the EcoEagles, includes students from the university’s Daytona Beach Campus. Team members range from undergraduate to doctorate-level students and include many branches of engineering and other majors. These students get real-world, hands-on experience in project management, public outreach, market research, engineering and teamwork, which often leads to employment opportunities after graduation.

Tom Gorgia, an Embry-Riddle mechanical engineering graduate and EcoCAR team member, used his experience to land a job with the Advanced Development team at General Motors, which is a headline sponsor of EcoCAR.

“Learning in the context of real-world projects helps students develop a stronger understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an applied manner,” said Dora Smith, global director for the Academic Partner Program at Siemens PLM Software. “This grant enables Embry-Riddle to provide their students with real-world experience by employing the same software and technology used by leading manufacturers, preparing them for rewarding STEM careers.”

An additional benefit for the students is that the in-kind grant gives students access to the same technology that companies around the world depend on daily to develop innovative products in a variety of industries including automotive, aerospace, machinery, shipbuilding, high-tech electronics and others. Graduates with this type of software training are highly recruited candidates for advanced technology jobs.

“[This grant] impacts the entire university, including disciplines in the College of Engineering (mechanical, aerospace, electrical, software), as well as those in other colleges: Business and Arts & Sciences,” said Dr. Maj Mirmirani, dean of Embry-Riddle’s College of Engineering at the Daytona Beach Campus and interim senior vice president for academic affairs and research.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) established the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions in 1988, with the goals of educating the next generation of automotive engineers while accelerating the development and demonstration of technologies of interest to the DOE and the automotive industry.

“The EcoCAR project has attracted many talented students to the High-Performance Vehicles track in our mechanical engineering program, has fueled cutting-edge research and development in hybrid-electric technology at Embry-Riddle and has provided unique hands-on educational and career opportunities for hundreds of students in engineering, business, marketing and communications,” said Mirmirani.

Note: NX™ and Teamcenter® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Siemens of Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and in other countries.

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at