How it Works

The Vehicle Challenge supports the education of next generation engineers by exposing them to the design challenges associated with a fluid powered vehicle, and teaching them the value of fluid power components, circuits, and systems. In addition, the program provides these students with first-hand experience in working as an engineering team on a timeline to design, simulate, build, test, qualify, and compete with their concepts.

Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge transparent

Putting Designs to the Test

The months-long design and build portion of the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenges culminates in a competition between schools to test the limits of their creations. The Vehicle Challenge expands each year. Two separate competitive events will be held in the current cycle, ensuring that students from over 20 universities can participate and more NFPA Foundation donors can connect with these students.

Want to get involved? Contact us at


Program Timeline


  • Review Overview, Rules and Awards
  • Register adviser and all team members.
  • Learn about fluid power technology and watch the Fluid Power Safety video.
  • Become familiar with the program contacts and industry mentors
  • Attend a Kick-Off Webinar
  • Work with the Industry Mentors and the Technical Liaison to identify project objectives and set a plan
  • Review the FPVC Assessment Rubric
  • Watch pre-recorded videos or attend Educational Webinars offered by Technical Liaison and Parts Suppliers
  • Investigate concepts from previous year
  • Create initial design to illustrate the fluid power control circuits
  • Simulate design and perform dynamic, fluid flow, expected performance, and other analyses
  • Using the Midway Review Template, present project objectives at the Design and Specification Midway Review Webinar
  • Choose and order components


  • Receive parts and begin to construct vehicle prototypes
  • Build, test and make adjustments to the vehicle


  • Only operational vehicles will be able to compete
  • Send video of vehicle in operation to Program Manager and Technical Liaison
  • Register for the Final Competition
  • Receive shipping instructions from Program Manager, prepare vehicle
  • Review travel procedures and make arrangements


  • Using the Presentation Template, prepare the final presentation and send to Program Manager
  • Presentations submitted to the Program Manager will be posted after the Final Competition
  • Final Competition will be hosted by a donor in the NFPA Foundation’s Pascal Society

Meet Our Final Competition Hosts



Danfoss Power Solutions is a global industry leader in providing mobile hydraulics and a complete range of energy-efficient hydraulic, electronic, and electrical solutions for the construction, agriculture, and other off-highway vehicle markets. 

Norgren Logo


Norgren, as a part of IMI plc, has a proud history of innovative engineering in motion control and fluid technology. Norgren collaborates with customers globally to address the complex and ever-changing needs of modern manufacturing. The Norgren enterprise develops solutions that continually improve factory automation, material handling, process control, and more. 

April 26-28, 2023
Ames, IA

April 12-14, 2023
Littleton, CO

Participating Teams
Cleveland State University
Iowa State University
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Murray State University
North Carolina Agriculture and Technological State University
Northern Illinois University
Ohio University
Purdue University Northwest
University of Akron
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
South Dakota State University

Participating Teams
Arizona State University
Cal Poly State University
Loyola Marymount University
Michigan Technological State University
Purdue University
Texas A&M
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Cincinnati
Tennessee State University
University of Utah
Western Michigan University
Kennesaw State University

Program Essentials


Over $15,000 can be awarded in prizes to teams that place in several categories! Award funds are issued either directly to students or to the home university to support future program efforts.

Meet the Teams

Teams are encouraged to investigate concepts from the previous year’s program. See what universities are competing and review previous submissions.

Stipends and Travel

One team per university will be funded through the program through stipend disbursements and reimbursement for travel to the Final Competition.

Industry Involvement

At least one Industry Mentor is assigned to each team to coach them throughout the year. Industry Judges participate in the assessment and scoring of each team and determines category winners at the Final Competition.