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Academic Excellence in Engineering Supported by Autodesk at Formula Student 2009

Helping to promote careers and excellence in engineering, Autodesk has sponsored Formula Student 2009, the largest student motorsport event in Europe (Silverstone, UK, 16–19 July 2009) […]

Helping to promote careers and excellence in engineering, Autodesk has sponsored Formula Student 2009, the largest student motorsport event in Europe (Silverstone, UK, 16–19 July 2009).

This year’s race featured some of the best engineering students across the world competing in a single- seater car that was designed and built from scratch. In all, it involved 105 universities from 23 countries, competing across five different racing categories.

Established in the UK in 1998 and run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), in partnership with various well known companies in the industry, Formula Student provides students with a real-life exercise in design, manufacture and the business elements of automotive engineering. It teaches them all about team working, under pressure and to tight timescales, and contributes to the development of highly-talented young engineers.

Ross Brawn, Principal of Formula One team, Brawn GP, and Formula Student Patron, said, “Formula Student is doing an excellent job of encouraging young people’s interest in engineering and I am delighted to be a patron.”

“Participation requires students to develop a rounded set of skills which will help them overcome the challenges they will meet when they leave university,” Brawn added. “They have to start with a concept, put a team together, work as a group and follow the project through to the point of actually using their final design and product.

“Motorsport is a highly competitive environment where practical experience really can make a candidate looking for their first job stand out from the pack,” he continued. “That’s where Formula Student can have a crucial role to play. To stay ahead of the competition in Formula One, you need to be skilled at continuously changing and evolving your technologies and engineering processes. I can see that same desire to experiment and innovate in order to come out on top is also there in the talented and skilled young engineers working for the Formula Student teams.”

Paolo Zambon, Autodesk EMEA Education Marketing Manager, said, “As a leader in design innovation software and technologies, Autodesk is proud to support young engineering talent both through its sponsorship of Formula Student and its provision of free software, support services and specialised training resources to participants.”

“Formula Student is a fantastic career opportunity that allows students to combine first-class hands-on practical experience with academic study and equips them with a range of skills they can use to drive innovation throughout their future careers,” he added.

Autodesk was delighted to present three important awards during the event:

  • the Autodesk “Most effective/Innovative design in engineering” award was won by the Imperial College London team (UK)
  • the Autodesk “Class 1 design” award (for fully constructed and running, “first-year” vehicles) was won by the TU Delft team (The Netherlands)
  • the Autodesk “Class 1 (200)” award (for further development of Class 1 cars (“second-year vehicles”)) was won by the TU Munich team (Germany).

During the event, one of Autodesk’s leading Alias designers, Mike Jelinek, offered to use the solution to redesign the body shells of participants’ Formula Student Cars. Alias provides a comprehensive set of visualisation and analysis tools for the entire shape-definition process from concept sketching and modelling up to Class-A surfacing.

Autodesk also distributed copies of the Autodesk Formula Car Design Curriculum to all event participants. The curriculum, part of the large library of educational resources Autodesk makes available for students and faculties, is available as a free-of-charge download at the Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community website where students and teachers can also download for free the latest versions of Autodesk software.

The curriculum provides tools from Autodesk Inventor software such as frame generators, dynamic accelerators, stress analysis and dynamic simulation, which allow the teams to create more innovative designs and ultimately drive their success on the race track. Autodesk Education specialists visited the teams during the event and offered them training on the latest technologies: a further step in linking academic learning with growing industry demands for new engineers with practical skills.

By Itamar Medeiros

Originally from Brazil, Itamar Medeiros currently lives in Germany, where he works as Lead Product Design Strategist at SAP and promotes User Experience Design as visiting lecturer at Köln International School of Design. Working in the Information Technology industry since 1998, Itamar Medeiros has helped truly global companies in several countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, United Arab Emirates, United States) create great user experience through advocating Design and Innovation principles. During his 7 years in China, he championed the User Experience Design discipline as User Experience Manager at Autodesk and Local Coordinator of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) in Shanghai

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