A team of thirteen MABE students marked the completion of their senior design project and the end of their undergraduate studies in May when they competed in the Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Competition held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The competition challenges engineering students to design and build an off-road vehicle that can endure rough terrain, then race the vehicle against other universities at the annual competition—all while following SAE’s rules and regulations.
The MABE team, advised by Senior Lecturer Larry Sharpe, spent countless hours over the past two semesters designing and building their off-road vehicle.
“The total average for the entire team over the course of the project was approximately 185 hours per week,” said team leader Robert Jones. “This project required a time commitment above and beyond other senior design projects, and the dedication that my teammates displayed cannot be overstated.”
That hard work and dedication ended up paying off for the team. As a first-year team, they placed 71st out of 86 teams and were able to get their car through the technical inspection process as well as compete in the endurance race.
“Most teams spend two years before bringing their first design to competition,” said Jones. “We had one year to get that done and persisted long enough to accomplish that challenge, so I think we did a great job.”
Like with all senior design projects in the department, the students gained hands-on, real-world engineering experience that will help them as they begin their careers.
“I’m not sure I can put into words the magnitude of the value of the learning experience,” said Jones. “I learned more about what it takes to create a functioning prototype, how to manage a project, and how to lead people than any other course has been able to teach. It’s one thing to learn about design and fabrication in a classroom, but it’s another beast entirely to experience that firsthand.”
The competition also dictated several requirements that required extensive documentation, which is not well emphasized in course work.
“Overall, I think this was the single greatest learning experience of my life,” added Jones.
In addition to Jones, the team included Brandon Burchell, Angelena Cassar, Carter Chapman, Garrett Fields, Carson Foy, Bailey Gadams, Wyatt Greenewalt, Jacob Hickerson, Azeem Husain, Stephanie Newton, Noah Trent, and Joseph Walker.
Kathy Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org, 865-974-8615)