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Furniss, Jon; Marwil, Jeremy (ed.) / Wisconsin engineer
Volume 100, Number 2 (February, 1996)

Staats, Wendy
Tomorrow's vehicles today,   pp. 5-6


Page 5


Tomorrow's Vehicles Today
Efficient, fast, safe cars are the
goal of manufacturers around the
world. At the University of Wisconsin-
Madison, student engineers work on
projects that may eventually contribute
to such ultimate goals. Four teams
design and build vehicles to compete
with other colleges and universities and
join in the effort to improve today's
vehicles for the future.
More Than a "Formula"
About twenty five people, primarily
mechanical engineering majors,
constitute the Formula Car team. The
vehicle they are creating, a miniature-
sized formula race car, competes
annually with nearly one hundred
schools from across the nation. Ford,
GM and Chrysler sponsor the event
which takes place in the Pontiac
Silverdome in Detroit. Judges analyze
the design of the car in the main event
of the competition, while dynamic
events in acceleration, handling and
endurance test the performance of the
formula car. Students receive technical
design credit at the university for
participating in the team. According to
Scott Adler, the Formula Car team
leader, "taking part in such a project is
a fun way to earn credits, not to
mention good experience for a future
job."
Baja/Hybrid Car
The Baja car, a four hundred pound,
off-road mini-car, races on a rough
terrain course. The competition is based
on a four hour endurance race, as well
as on tests in maneuverability, accelera-
tion, braking, static safety, durability
and weld quality. In addition to the
above capabilities, it is important that
the production cost of the car is small,
since cost efficiency is also judged in the
competition. The Baja car enters two
major races each year. In June, the team
alternates between competing in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Dayton,
OLUUdIILZ IUtU Lie ItJ: Dtar inito a L ruc In preparation Tor a Dig race.
Ohio. Also, in April they travel to
Texas, where the truly rough terrain
challenges the vehicle to cross ten foot
deep gullies and one foot diameter
rocks. An advantage of the Baja
competition is that, "the design
category is much more open. We have
Four teams design
and build vehicles
to compete with
other colleges and
universities and
join in the effort to
improve today's
vehicles for the
future
considerable freedom to create a car
whose design fits many situations,"
notes Paul Brooks, the team leader. As
with the other cars, the students who
work on the Baja car gain experience in
mechanical design, as well as manufac-
turing, while putting their knowledge
to practical application.
Future Car
Striving for an efficient vehicle is the
goal of Team Paradigm. Under the
leadership of Pat Maguire, the Future
Car team works to create a mid-sized
vehicle that maintains cost, utility and
performance while achieving 80 miles
per gallon gas mileage. In fact, the
efficiency requirement is not limited to
gas. The real question is: how far can
FEBRUARY 1996
5


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