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Students Design Better Products for Eco-Friendly Transportation

CONCORD, Mass.--June 20, 2006--Student engineering teams from more than 30 elite universities will use SolidWorks(R) software this summer at MIT to design better alternative transportation technologies and "leapfrog" the state of the art.

Students at the first-ever Vehicle Design Summit June 13 - Aug. 13, 2006 will conceive, design, implement, and operate a fleet of innovative autos that use non-carbon hybrid technologies, including human power, biofuels, solar, and fuel cells. The summit is an offshoot of a celebrated biennial 3,000-kilometer solar car race across Australia. Unlike the race, the summit focuses on collaboration, not competition, and on affordable, practical technologies that don't require support vehicles to operate.

"This project is a reaction to the fact that over two decades, entrants in the World Solar Challenge have by default converged on a single winning design, the execution of which determines the winner," said Anna Jaffe, an MIT sophomore and event organizer. "The idea behind the Vehicle Design Summit is to channel energies in a direction that might directly benefit the world more than pure racing does. Our designs will reflect practical concerns like driving unsupported on real roads at viable speeds in countries with limited financial resources. We want to design better products that are drivable, parkable, economical, and sustainable. At the same time, as a student-led research initiative, we have the design freedom to investigate technologies many would deem too risky to pursue in a commercial setting."

As the exclusive 3D CAD sponsor of the nine-week Vehicle Design Summit, SolidWorks Corporation will donate 90 licenses of SolidWorks Education Edition 3D CAD software, which includes a full suite of COSMOS(R) design analysis tools. Jaffe says SolidWorks software will be indispensable in prototyping bodies and designing chassis, and COSMOS software will help ensure chassis and suspension are as strong as necessary but as light as possible.

"SolidWorks software has an ultra-short learning curve and is already pervasive in education and industry, so students who don't know it when they arrive will know it after day two," said Jaffe. "Then we can go about proving that students are perhaps the best innovators, and that alternative transportation can become a new focus for education and innovation at MIT. SolidWorks and COSMOS will make up the common language of design for participants from 13 countries."

In addition to spawning high-impact designs, the summit will steep participants in real-world experience working in groups on projects they likely wouldn't see in traditional engineering education.

"Product innovation can sometimes seem agonizingly slow, but these exceptional students are determined to prove that dedicating themselves around the clock for eight weeks can produce surprising results," said Rainer Gawlick, vice president of worldwide marketing for SolidWorks Corporation. "We're confident these results will be felt for generations to come."

For more information on the Vehicle Design Summit, listen to the podcast at

About SolidWorks Corporation

SolidWorks Corporation, a Dassault Systemes S.A. company, develops and markets software for design, analysis, and product data management. It is the leading supplier of 3D CAD technology, providing intuitive, high-performing software that helps product design teams develop great products. For the latest news, information, or an online demonstration, visit the company's Web site ( or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).

SolidWorks is a registered trademark of SolidWorks Corporation, and COSMOS is a registered trademark of Structural Research & Analysis Corporation. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright (c) 2006 SolidWorks Corporation.