Each year, a team of MSOE’s mechanical engineering seniors compete in the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge for their senior design project. This year’s team turned heads with their unique tilt steering and rowing machine design, which was completely different from other competitors who mostly used a modified bike design. Their unique design earned them the Judge’s Choice: Design Award along with a $500 student cash award. They were also recognized for their excellent team dynamics and presentation delivery and given honorable mention for the Team Award and Best Presentation Award.

This year’s challenge was held in Ames, Iowa on April 20–22 and hosted by Danfoss Power Solutions. The challenge requires the construction of a human-powered vehicle that uses hydraulic components to convert the rider input into vehicle motion. Teams are required to comply with all rules and regulations, including incorporating regenerative braking, allowing for the charging/discharging of the accumulator, and monitoring the pressure before the pump and after the accumulator while maintaining proper safety and comfort for the rider. Each competition vehicle is evaluated using multiple criteria, including vehicle weight, efficiency, innovation and speed. The competition teams compete in three events: a sprint, an endurance challenge, and an efficiency test.

MSOE’s team developed the RATT, or Rowing Actuated Tadpole Tricycle, to bring an innovative and unique approach to the annual competition. They combined numerous different novel solutions to create one of the most unique vehicles in the competition’s history.

The team was comprised of mechanical engineering seniors Jacob Beine, Darrian Garrett, Jason Herrera-Diaz, Matthew Shales, Jacob Sirny, as well as Adam Aragon who graduated in February 2022. Dr. Luis A. Rodriguez, assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department, was the team’s advisor. Mike Helbig from Force America served as the industry mentor for the team. Chandlar Armstrong ’19, MSOE mechanical engineering alumnus, currently works at IFP Motion Solutions Inc. and served as one of the judges at the event.