A recreational car with a retractable automotive chassis that allows for change in the length of the vehicle? NIT-Tiruchi students have designed exactly that.
A car for all tracks and conditions... The about 350-kg four-wheeler built by students of the National Institute of Technology - Tiruchi (NIT-T) for showcasing their creative instincts at BAJA SAEINDIA 2011 from January 27 to 31 on the tracks of the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, offers a lot.
Christening themselves PSI Racing (team), 25 students of Mechanical, Production, and Electrical Engineering branches put their heads together to design, conceptualise and completely fabricate the four-wheeler featuring technical advancements in the NIT-T Workshop where they spent a major part of their vacation.
Fulfilling the focus this year to achieve high performance, students have designed a retractable automotive chassis, which allows change in the overall length of the car, offering riding comfort and sharp manoeuvrability configurations depending on the driving requirement.
And they have contributed to ‘Green BAJA' theme in no small measure by way of utilising ultra-capacitors instead of toxic non-biodegradable lead acid batteries used in normal passenger vehicles.
Each team has to design and build a prototype of a rugged single seat vehicle envisaged as an off-road recreational four-wheeler intended for sale to the non-professional, weekend off-road enthusiast. The competition's goals are that the vehicle must be safe, easily transported, easily maintained and fun to drive. It should be able to negotiate rough terrain in all types of weather without damage.
The underlying purpose of the event is to place before SAE student members challenges in the entire process from design and engineering to production and marketing.
The NIT-T team has always been a tough competitor in the event every year. In the inaugural year 2007, the NIT-T team finished eighth out of 27 short-listed teams. In 2009, the position rose up to sixth out of 58 teams. That year, the NIT-T team also won the dynamic hill climb event earning a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh.
Last year, by competing in the endurance run at the tracks, it set an all new high performance and the team finished third in the manoeuvrability event. This year, the team led by Kaushik Sampath has already been shortlisted in the top 20.
There is a definite reason for the quality workmanship of the enthusiastic team in fabricating the vehicle this year. Some students underwent practical welding training for a couple of weeks at the Welding Research Institute on the premises of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Tiruchi, said K. Sankaranarayanasamy, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Dean, Planning and Development, NIT-T.
The SAE India is an apt platform for students to showcase their talent and potential not only in terms of design and engineering, but also their capability for team work, entrepreneurial skills and management.
The students had the able support of alumni for generating Rs. 3 lakh for fabricating the racer four-wheeler.
The team by virtue of spending abundant time for qualitative improvement of their product is confident about success, said L.A. Kumaraswamidhas, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering.