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Thread: FSAE Australasia 2017

  1. #11

    thank you.

    My suggestion about 4WD is not a pathetic decision. It is by far the best solution according to our numbers.
    We are refining our lap time and event point simulation since 6-7 years now and a lightweight 4WD car is by far the best solution.
    With the electric motors you can limit the extra weight of the 2 front motors to basically one dual inverter and maybe 25% of the motor weight which probably amounts to 5-6kg and you can save a good amount of batteries due to recuperation.

    And if you have seen the 4WD cars in action, you know how they can be thrown around a track.

    The only thing I give you is that you create more EMC issues with HV cables running through the car.

    I know that you have some random magic in your back pocket that we have never seen but I trust our numbers so far.

    I'm sure the Zurich guys are super happy to run your fantasy car that you think is a better option for Monash in the simulation tool!
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

    2010-2011: Suspension
    2012: Aerodynamics
    2013: Technical Lead

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  2. #12

    I'd go differently


    I tend to look at things from different perspectives.

    The competition ran exceptionally smoothly given that around a month ago there was essentially no competition. The effort behind the scenes to get it up and running at all has been herculean at times. A few people have invested personally to significant ends - they really didn’t have to - and so whilst it’s easy to criticise… we shouldn’t.

    Atop this some might note that this is the first time the Australian competition has been held in lieu of a local automotive manufacturing industry. Which, regrettably, has also diminished (vastly) the size and scope of research and design resources in Australia. Which means universities - most of them - have shifted funding from FSAE teams, which means less faculty support, etc etc. Many universities here have excellent final year students that some time ago would have been in FSAE though are now guided towards other projects. Resources to finish the cars at many local universities simply don’t exist as they did 12 months ago. Some teams you’d consider strong have their funding in doubt next year.

    And yet there were some exceptional 2nd/3rd year students in the mix, and the organising committee is off fundraising with renewed effort and focus, and there’s efforts to significantly restructure the Australian event itself.

    For what it’s worth hosting a good party is not hard unless you plan to do it at a motorsports park in a metropolitan location under noise restrictions, and then it’s damn near impossible. You’re not the first to suggest this though and moving the event is very much on the cards.

    So on the whole - both as a former educator and industry type person - I’m happy with it. As you may be aware, the organisers will soon send out an email asking for suggestions for next year. Participate. We’re working on some initiatives to help level things - some may get up, some won’t, it’s ultimately a volunteer-driven event. As ever we’re going to try a bit harder.

    Sure, the standard of vehicles wasn’t as good as last year’s (at least I didn’t think so) There are better and worse years to this end. At one end we have students struggling to put it together in one year, at the other a car honed over many years. Neither are perfect. They’re different strategies to attempt and extract educational value from the same event, and obviously if FSAE world rankings and winning competitions are the order of the day then one strategy among these will likely dominate. Scott has done a world-class job over many years in building a culture at Monash around the FSAE program, and I would suggest any gaps between the teams’ performance (albeit winning) and their ultimate potential (which is significant) doesn’t concern a lack of local competition or any lack of any (significant) effort on Scott’s part.

    I tend to go a little differently here and suggest that:

    - FSAE isn’t really a motorsports competition - happens too infrequently
    - It remains a great way for students to partake in and experience a large-scale engineering project
    - Lap times, lack of FWD and whatever else doesn’t stop our graduates kicking ass globally, and
    - The last point is really what it’s all about.

    I could expand this in detail though let’s suggest that success is a byproduct of many things, and we’ll leave it at that.

    I hope to see you all next year.

    PS The ‘specialty prizes’ exist to acknowledge sportsmanship, much as people do in real motorsports.


    How you feel about accel times over 4.2s is about how I feel about the tone of your posts. Or cheap criticism more generally.

  3. #13

    I take that. It was not very well written.
    Still, I stand by my point that the Australian e-Car competition (and if I remember correctly RMITe was one of the first electric cars globally) has been "at sleep" while it exploded in Europe. And catch-up should be done if the goal would be to be competitive.
    100% agree with you though that the competition is not about the best performing car if we look on a larger scale. "Developing kick ass engineers" is absolutely the goal of FSAE.
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

    2010-2011: Suspension
    2012: Aerodynamics
    2013: Technical Lead

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    I hope you realise that my use of "pathetic", and the "", was with reference to my comments on the feedback video, and your "Go big..." comment.

    But then again, every time I hear students talking about "...going 4WD", there is definitely a strong stench of Pathos in the air!

    So, ... should I really try to help Zurich here? Hmmmmm...

    How about the common claim that a 50:50 weight-distribution is "ideal"? (<- A good example of Pathos at its most pathetic, if ever there was one.)

    So, ... what is your (Zurich's) weight-distribution? If it changed significantly, either moving forwards or backwards, then would 4WD still be best? Could such changes make the car lighter, or would it get heavier? (Is "Go big..." really better?)

    And what about that all-important grip-multiplier of Cz.A? And how does the battery-killer of Cx.A change, if the weight-distribution, and hence also Cz.A, changes?

    Ahhh, so many questions, so much boring calculating to do, with numbers, and figures, and blah, blah, blah...

    Yep, best leave that stuff to the Nerds, while we real men "Go BIG, with 4WD, and ... a TURBO!!!"

    (PS1. Show me Zurich's sims, and I will show you where they are wrong.)

    (PS2. Accel-time of 4.2 seconds IS too slow. Agreed! I have been saying such since 2002. Even on the low-ish grip Calder track, most teams should be under 4 seconds. But, it seems, most everyone is happy with the same-old same-old.)

    GTS (Ric...),

    I won't quote any specific sections of your last post, but most of it is the same sort of thing I have heard too many times from football clubs who are at the bottom of the ladder. Sadly, in my younger days I played for many of those clubs, and, for me, it certainly weren't no fun!

    Yep, we would lose every game of the year, and at the end-of-year presentation night the Club President gets up and says "All things considered, ... this was a hugely successful year!" Whenever I hear such comments I know, for sure, that things WILL NEVER GET BETTER. Such comments are a guarantee of eternal under-achievement.

    If the SAE-A really wants this competition to produce "better educated young engineers", a goal that I fully support, then they really should approach the problem OBJECTIVELY. Say, like Engineers! That is, they should establish some sort of metric that can be used to measure how "successful" they are, in any given year.

    Two examples of a metric that puts an objective number on "How successfully did we educate this year's students":
    1. Percentage of teams that score "performance" points in ALL dynamic events. (Note that completing one lap at walking pace, as WSU did this year, does NOT count!)
    2. Percentage of Oz-Teams in the top-20 of the World Rankings. (Or top-10, or top-50, etc.)

    This is supposed to be an Engineering event, so I think it reasonable that it be assessed in an engineering manner.

    Less "feel-good" talk (= Pathos), and more numbers (= Logos).

    And no more of the current acceptance of mediocrity.

    Last edited by Z; 12-12-2017 at 09:05 PM.

  5. #15

    I'm out of the game actively since 2013, so I am not the best person to provide you with answers on the Zurich car.

    With "Go Big" I never meant a "big car" or "big XYZ". I meant it more in a sense of "let's try something". A bit more risky.
    But I am still convinced that our Aero had quite a good Cz*A back in the day and probably still today. I know that you have this magic undertray that can create CzA of a full Aero package without Drag but so far noone was able to build that in real life.
    The 2017 Undertray of Zurich is as massive as it gets with a battery pack in the back. Still nowhere close to your ideal.

    The students here either are failing or the theoretical numbers are not that achievable.

    On all other things, the new generation with data is able to help out. I think your position of "show me and I show you where you are wrong" is very comfortable. I like that position as well. But showing the other way round would help at some point as well.
    You have very big claims and they are admirable but I still think many of your assumptions are not achievable; at least we tried many of them and they all did not yield the results. From the undertry design to a 70%R weight car.

    Therefore I stick to my claim that a lightweight 4WD car with decent aero is the best option with the current set of rules.
    I know that "that is what is working" is not a valid argument and I know that you will not believe the guys from Formula One (which work with Zurich on a weekly basis) are smarter but so far the consensus holds.
    So now I can just claim that "our concept" is the logical choice backed up with calculations and figures and boring stuff (and exciting on-track testing / data gathering to be fair) and your claims are just gut feelings...
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

    2010-2011: Suspension
    2012: Aerodynamics
    2013: Technical Lead

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  6. #16
    Z (Erik...)

    First things first - if we're at Calder next year we have to get to a better pizza joint than we've been at the last two years. Way too noisy for discussion, way to trendy for the likes of us

    Logos for 2017 was simple: the event ran. Really it was that hard. SAE-A is down to a single part-time staff member at the moment. Full recovery mode. I can't say enough nice things about the people that made it happen so you and I get to judge and students get to partake.

    I don’t disagree with much of your post. It is hard to compete with teams overseas objectively when our students are not always at the same level (very few Masters entrants), sponsorship is a significant disparity and universities are winding up support for ‘traditional’ automotive streams. More Logos? Two teams this year didn’t have university support for a place to build their cars, and three teams that have traditionally competed very well are in doubt to have university support at all in 2018. We have a bit of an opportunity with electric vehicles and better use of CAE - many universities baulk at the investment here - as organisers we’re trying to get a few things going to help and level the playing field per se, it won’t be cheap and there is zero money down here. Uphill battle.

    It’s not for the SAE-A to tell universities here how to run their teams either. Universities ultimately educate, the SAE-A just runs an event to broadly the same rules as done overseas. I’d personally love to hurdle the event (car must be ready by date x, 200km testing must be done by date y, etc) though again, these are university matters, and we honestly don’t have that much leeway to change rules from international norms. Personally I think this is an area where you and I could team up to badger the organisers a bit as a little bit of guidance I think would go a long way… way too many teams arrive without turning a wheel in anger. One of my alma maters is in it’s third year of an incomplete dynamic showing, and it’s sad. From an aero perspective I’d include deflection tests in scrutineering because if you can’t build it and test it you really shouldn’t try racing it. We can each yell ‘till we’re blue in the face on these forums but that only makes us angry older men with keyboards, we’ve this nice opportunity now from the organisers to take in any sorts of suggestions for 2018, I’m happy to draw up a list with you and whomever else on this forum. Again - SAE-A can’t educate but it can guide.

    There are elements afoot in our competition that I don’t like. Not enough Ghetto First Principles, too much Monkey See Monkey Do. You might want to kill the design event (still!), I want a Ghetto First Principles score.

    Somehow despite the lack of international competitiveness the competition produces some world-class grads that have gone onto great things. So we can’t be too draconian.


    Thank you. Some of our students put together world-class e-powertrains… unfortunately they’re doing it as graduates overseas and in power transmission locally. You’ll also find down here that in most Australian university electrical, software and mechanical engineering are disparate faculties, with different funding, academic credit rules, etc. Often the EE work is an errant student or two working well into their spare time for zero credit, and more often an ME that’s stretching beyond their common 1st year subjects. There is very little sponsorship (if any) for cells and the stuff is expensive down here. Industry involvement is scant and at most universities academic support is similarly so - almost no academic is paid to run/administer FSAE. Resources are generally limited.

    I would personally love to have students make and break motors, packs and the like in the spirit of getting somewhere. I’ve done as much after university though it took moving to a new continent, at which point (like most Australians) I discovered the world was very large, engineering was taken very seriously elsewhere, that there was actually money for the stuff I’d studied and that my skills were competitive with the best the world offered… and slightly enhanced by having going through uni pulling miracles on zero budget. But I was a long way from home then, and now that I’m back home I don’t work in automotive engineering. It broadly doesn’t exist here anymore.

    There are guys in F1 that work with Zurich on a weekly basis, and that’s great. The only three ex-F1 guys that see the entire Australian competition turn up once a year to judge aero.

    Australia will get back there. It will just take time.

    We can distil this over a 4.2 second run, though really there’s so much more to it. I hope you understand.

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