Basic utility vehicle

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BUVcompetition2008 01.jpg
BUVcompetition2008 02.jpg

Images from the 2006 Basic Utility Vehicle competition

Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) is a simple rugged vehicle designed for use in the developing world. The Institute for Affordable Transportation (IAT) is the promoter of this type of vehicle and the main sponsor. IAT runs the annual BUV Design Competition where engineering students bring their vehicles for judging and performance evaluation (including cost) and contribute to IAT’s research and development efforts. The competition harnesses the creative energy of college students from across the United States in an effort to develop a simple, low-cost utility vehicle that can benefit low-income people in rural areas of developing countries.

Student teams design and build these vehicles to compete in a series of tests and events to determine the best design. Each team also plans an oral report aimed towards the judges and spectators. In the reports, students discuss the planning, building, and testing processes that each BUV went through prior to the competition. Because the BUV must account for a lack of infrastructure, the vehicles must pass a variety of tests during the competition including an obstacle course, mud pit, mogul field, and endurance track. Many of the students work on the BUV as a senior capstone project at the end of their engineering degree.

BUVs are designed around these specifications:

  • Cost: <$900 for new design
  • Payload: 1000 lbs
  • Speed: 20 mph (governed)
  • Weight: 500 lbs.
  • Materials: Not specified (plastics and composites encouraged)
  • Maximize: Number of unassembled kits that fit in 20' ocean container
  • Minimize: Total cost of ownership, custom designed parts, part number count
  • Excluded Doors, body panels, glass, trim, gauges, hydraulics, radiator, heater

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