Formula SAE and race car technology | Dr. Bob Woods | TEDxUTA



you thank you and it's a pleasure for me to be with you here today and share my passion for the racecar and today I want to talk to you about the Formula SAE race car competition we'll go over a little bit about the competition the technology in the car and then what it means for engineering education now the there are several student competitions going on all the time and the Formula SAE is the premier student design competition in the world it started in 1981 here in Texas at Austin and now we have two events in the United States we have events in England Australia and Japan and many many other places in the world and it's growing new venues are coming on all the time now this event is hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers and yes SAE is what's printed on your oil can and the concept of the competition is the team is going to offer a prototype car to a hypothetical company that wants to put it in production and they have several ways to evaluate and have criteria for what's the best car for them to put into production and that's the concept of the competition and each event is judged by professionals at high levels from all over the world automotive engineers race car engineers and they come and judge this vehicle both on static presentations and discussions as well as dynamic or driving events in the first day they do technical inspection on the car to be sure it complies with all the rules of the competition they want to be sure that it won't tilt over in a haiji turn they want to be sure the muffler is working and the brakes are working and then in parallel with that they have a design presentation where some of the best racecar engineers in the world quiz the guys about what their knowledge is about the design of their car there's also a cost analysis the more money you spend on your car the less points you make and there's also an oral presentation of marketing how you see the car being marketed then day two starts the dynamic events and one of the events is a skid pad where the car drives in a circle as fast as it can to measure the lateral G's then there's an acceleration event that see how much power and weight that you have is sort of like a drag race for 82 yards now the defining event for this competition is called Auto cross it's a solo event so there's only one car on the track and is racing against the clock and the organizers put up traffic cones in some sort of form of a road track that has slalom chicanes hairpin straightaways and you get to walk it for a little while and then you only get to drive it twice and so this is an interesting form of competition because there's no practice and you'll never see that track again it's all how well can you interpret before you drive it how quickly you can go around that track so it's very interesting form of racing now day three comes up with an endurance race it turns out that these cars only driven of about 30 seconds to 60 seconds every time they run and we run a course that's an auto style auto cross style course that lasts about 13 miles that represents an entire season of racing for one of these cars and they want to check the endurance only about half the cars last that 13 miles of endurance they also have a driver change and so that we have two different drivers running the same track and then you're scored on time how fast you can cover that 13 miles they also measure the fuel that you use so everything is going to be a compromise if you have a big engine you'll go really fast you'll burn a lot of fuel you'll lose points because of the fuel so it's an interesting how each team plays that compromise some cars are very very simple very light some are very sophisticated and how you play the compromise determines how many points you get and all events are scored and you get points for each event and of course the team with the highest cumulative points wins the overall event UTA has won this event eight times in the United States we've won the event in England Australia and Japan and UTA hosts a event here on campus in July that we invite teams from all over the country and Canada to join us for a weekend of racing last year we had 12 universities representing us we normally win all three tracks of that event and we normally win the Sports Car Club of America's a national event in the fall right now we're ranked number one in the United States and we're ranked number five in the world now let's talk a little bit about the technology in the car and of course here is our car from last year and one thing I want to talk about is to make a race car go fast you really need to save weight and so we use a lot of high-tech materials to save weight carbon fiber is very strong very stiff and very lightweight it's amazing how light it can be and how strong it can be and all of the parts that you see in this photo are carbon fiber including those blue things but all the rest of the things including the wheels we were the first to do carbon fiber wheels always are carbon fiber we also use titanium aluminum and chromoly steel now one thing that is very important to me and students as a driver is that we have two pedals one for the accelerator and one for the brake because as you do maneuvers you're going to be accelerating and braking and sometimes you're going to be on both pedals at the same time for some special maneuvers so I'll do anything to have two pedals at my feet so to do this we have a combined hand clutch and shifter the two handles pulled together for the clutch and the whole mechanism rotates for the shifter and this works out really well and you'll see an example here in a minute now one thing that we've developed this year and it was written up in racecar engineering magazine from England and is going to be the feature of a Daily Planet from the Discovery Channel in Canada actually on Monday is this active arrow and what we have is aerodynamic wings that push the car to the ground in an airplane the wings lift the plane up and keep it in the air we do the opposite we push the car down because the more you can push down on the car the faster you can go around turns so we have set this up the top three flaps on the car can open and close by computer control and it's totally automatic the putt the driver doesn't have to do anything now with all that downforce you get drag and drag limits your maximum speed and so what we do is we open up all four wings because we have four quadrants here we open up all four wings for acceleration and then when we start to make a turn we close the inside two sets of wings and then when we turn really fast we close all four wings and so this is our active Aero suspension is quite an innovation and thank you for demonstrating that for us it's waving at you now next I'm going to show you an in-car video and this was out at Texas Motor Speedway combination of a lot of slalom chicanes and sweepers and so watch to three things out of this number one watch the driver shift the gears notice how quickly he can go through the gears watch how smooth he is by driving and also watch how close he comes to these cones let's talk about success stories of our students a lot of our students really would like to go into motorsports and a lot of them have Steve Trinidad was chief engineer for Saline Motorsports a few years ago now he owns his own racing company and been very successful Craig Henry is now in charge of all racing engines in the United States for Honda and very successful richard Pelletier is working at BMW design group and he comes back every year and says every second I spent working on that car has been worth it for my professional career I don't regret a second that I worked on the car and Joe Hayden was a member of the BMW sauber for Formula one King team in Austria for a number of years working in the wind tunnel currently we have Blake Hensley as a trackside engineer for Force India Formula One race car team the highest form of racing in the world and we have Erik likely is a race engineer working on Cadillacs and Corvettes for a series one of our current students Jacob Berg is working as a trackside engineer even before he's graduated now not everybody goes into racing and most of our students are very very successful in many other endeavors dr. Prince is a professor of mechanical engineering at Cal State Northridge and he's in charge of their Formula SAE program and dr. David Hahn is chief engineer and technical director for Lockheed Martin here in Grand Prairie and if you'll notice everything that the students learn in Formula SAE transfers to any industry and so these guys and I could go on and on all night about how many of our people have been successful but a lot of our team members have risen to a very high level and their companies now let's talk about the significance of FSA II to engineering we conduct our team as a volunteer organization and we have students ranging from freshmen all the way through graduate students on the team now some seniors and some graduate students could get course credit if they choose to do so but most of them do it as volunteer UTA has just instituted a certificate in automotive engineering to further enhance the credentials of our students and the students spend about six thousand man hours designing building a car and learning to drive it and taking it to competition now if you think about that somebody's spending 10 20 40 60 hours a week for a year for free just because it's an interesting and challenging project I can't tell you how much that speaks of the quality of all the students that are on this program and the recruiters know it they're all after these guys let's talk a minute about the student design competitions and what it means to the student into the university for the student they get the opportunity to work in a group work on a budget on a schedule they get to work with other people different personalities make compromises of design and and they learn so much engineering that are things that we could never teach them in a classroom because they are hands-on and they learn it themselves they learn to be professional and they learn to interface with industry our sponsors our suppliers and and I have a story you know a student might turn in a homework and it gets to 85% correct and he walks away but in Formula SAE as fast as these cars are there's no 85 percent it better be a hundred percent you better understand exactly why it's a hundred percent and don't stop until it is and of course recruiters love these guys now to the University this is a great mode of engineering education there there can be no better education than a hands-on experience with something like this it also gives a lot of publicity and visibility and recognition for the university recruitment we have the the the students come by for outreach and enrollment to the University twice a day and we have somebody appointed to clean all the nose prints off of our showcase room because everybody is so fascinated by a racecar and the students work with sponsors and have interactions with industries to help them raise their money and facilities for that now I'd like to talk about the value of Formula SAE it allows the students to develop technical skills through hands-on experience and in my opinion when you have to solve a problem of your own thinking of your own doing of your own imagination you learn so much more than when you solve a problem from an assigned homework and so hands-on involvement a hands-on experience to me is totally invaluable it's very critical to a deep understanding of engineering these students develop professionalism teamwork how to work on budgets and deadlines and work with other students and all of these are the exact skills industry wants you to learn they may not care if you can do a triple integral but they want you to do these things and so this is very valuable to engineering or to industry I'd like to just leave you this one thought my opinion is that a competition based hands-on involvement of a project that is interesting and challenging is the ultimate form of education because you learn so much with the hands-on and if I told my guys look let's just go build a car we'll drive it in our parking lot all by ourselves and nobody else will see it they'd all go home if I said let's build a car take it to a national or international competition and challenge yourself to pit yourself against the best in the world they're all in and and I think that's the value of competitions like this here's some of our cars that we've built and I thank you very much for your attention you

10 Comments

  1. pSyk said:

    DRS and a round steering wheel in the same car.

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  2. Tri Delta Gaming said:

    I love how a good 90% of commentators are current FSAE or alum. I myself am the prior.

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  3. k24hybrid said:

    Very cool !!

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  4. Benjamin Kelley said:

    Plus Baja is cooler, you get to race the other teams. With jumps…and whoops…and tree logs…and mud…

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  5. Benjamin Kelley said:

    I mean their success probably doesn't have anything to do with the fact that UTA gives their FSAE team a large budget and a large pool of resources…

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  6. Arne Schlowak said:

    i find it confusing that this professor is presenting this car. why isnt the team captain doing it? the prof always talks about "we" did this and that. there should be no "we"! this is a student competition. it clearly states at the rules that there should be no professionals involved. This competition is about the students. Other than that great car and the aero really is pretty cool.

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  7. Chris Stavro said:

    the series has become a caricature of itself. Most teams have to find sponsors to raise 50-100k every year…some german teams have million dollar budgets. they pay dozens of undergrads to work on their cars full time! who do you think will win? FSAE has changed focus from training undergrads, to who has the most money. the cars are irrelevant outside of FSAE.

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  8. Claudio Jaramillo said:

    does the car use the venturi effect-ground effect under the car to improve downforce ? what kind of engines do they use ? turbos ?

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  9. apiossj said:

    That Active Aero is sick

    June 26, 2019
    Reply
  10. axel hoogland said:

    I was part of FSAE in college also. It was a great experience like you said. Happy you are getting the message out there. one question. Why not an electronic shift mechanism?

    June 26, 2019
    Reply

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