FSAE SUPRA: Shower of Accolades

FSAE SUPRA: Shower of Accolades

Sravan Potnuru | Jul 27, 2015

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Team Roadrunner of NIT Rourkela participated in the SUPRA SAE competition, in which students attempt to design and fabricate a Formula type car. Beating tough odds, in a pool of nearly 167 competing teams, Team Roadrunner got placed in the top 5 of this highly acclaimed tournament, in which teams register from across the nation.

Out of the 167 or so teams that registered for the competition, 110 teams made it to the next round, by providing superior presentations in the first round. The presentation required the team to explain their concept, design innovations, fabrication methods used, and an overview of the car-building process as a whole.

Among these 110 teams, 91 teams had the cars ready to drive. In order to proceed to the next round, these cars were tested in four different aspects, to qualify for the competition. First was a highly rigorous technical inspection round, with thorough checking of the components, followed by a tilt test, in which the car was supposed to not roll even at a tilt of 60 degrees, and a brake and noise test. The noise levels were supposed to be below the critical threshold of 110dBA, even when the engine was revved to 11000 rpm.

After this level, only 25 teams were allowed to the next stage of testing, with new parameters like acceleration, skid-pad test, autocross and endurance. Only 9 teams could survive this intense testing process, including Team Roadrunner, and the winner of the competition, Team Invincible. This was a progressive year for FSAE, as the team managed to take all the four tests, unlike the last year, where delays in qualification forced the team to be able to take only the endurance test.

There was a minor hiccup in the event for Team Roadrunner, in the final event (endurance), where a broken fuse forced the team to start the race four laps late. This was an insurmountable obstacle for the team, in catching up with the competing teams. There was also a confusing moment in the displaying of the flag, which again proved to the disadvantage of the team. But the team strongly asserts that though they might have lost the race, they are confident that together as a team, they would win races and competitions in the future.

Team Roadrunner also managed to secure the Innovation Award, for the data acquisition system which they designed using Arduino to send the car information via Bluetooth to an Android Device mounted on the console dashboard.

Compared to previous years, the quality of competition had increased tremendously, making this achievement all the more exceptional. This would be the last SUPRA for the team, which has resolved to only participate in international events from now on. This competition serves as an important learning milestone as it enables the team to be better prepared for the upcoming international event named Formula Student India in January 2016. The team adds amongst their future plans that the design for the next iteration of their car is almost complete and that they hope to move to manufacturing in the next few days. The main focus for the upcoming years is in manufacturing lightweight vehicle with increased performance and reliability.

What truly made this event special was the inclusion of the extra rounds named cost and business events, apart from the main design event. The cost events included detailed cost tabulation, explanation of the need for a particular manufacturing/fabrication process and scoring based on that. Individual components were stripped down and inspected if they matched the cost specifications. The business event was intended to test your marketing skill, in which you had to convince investors to invest for developing 1000 pieces of the automobile per annum.

On a concluding note, when Team Roadrunner was asked whether they would like to keep participating in such events, the team responded with an unsurprisingly, resounding yes. The team also gave due credit to the Director, Prof. Sunil Kumar Sarangi, their faculty advisors Prof. Suraj Kumar Behera and Prof. Soumya Gangopadhyay (Mechanical), the SAC president, the technical society, the HOD and staff of the Central Workshop and all the team sponsors for their valuable inputs and support. An incredible achievement for the team and the club indeed!

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