The black magic of racecar engineering; turning air into grip. With new, more restrictive aerodynamics rules, Even small improvements in lateral acceleration have a huge impact on our success at competition. Thus, a strong aerodynamics package is an essential part of our current vehicle design. As a team, Aerodynamics touches many disciplines, from vehicle dynamics to fluid mechanics, and even to composite structures. They are responsible for complex parts that must be both light and able to withstand significant loads. Aerodynamics members use industry grade computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis, full-scale wind tunnel testing, and on-track evaluation to develop and validate a lightweight high-downforce package.
The suspension team is in charge of components such as the a-arms, wheels, tires, springs and dampers, brakes, and steering. This particular area of the car is very important since effective racers need to maximize the grip they can get out of their tires. Design begins on the computer using suspension geometry software. Various iterations are tried until a perfect setup is found. Each UW Formula Motorsports car has utilized a double wishbone 4-wheel independent suspension using a bell crank and anti roll bar assembly in the front and rear, and directly actuated push rods in the front and rear as well.
Manufacturing Team is a supplementary tech team intended to aid the other tech teams with their metalworking and machining tasks while giving newer and less experienced members a solid foundation in manufacturing processes. Understanding how parts are manufactured is imperative for designing parts that are both effective and practical. Manufacturing Team members are often tasked with helping other members produce parts or with projects that are necessary for the team to function. These include things such as testing rigs, quickjacks, or the pit cart. The experience gained while on the Manufacturing Team is something that can’t be learned in a classroom and gives our newer members the confidence to take on difficult design projects in the future.
Chassis team designs and manufactures the carbon fiber composite monocoque, the most architecturally critical component of the car. As the main structural component of the car, chassis team works with all other technical teams in order to seamlessly integrate each system into a completed racecar. Not only responsible for the chassis itself, members on chassis team must design safety devices such as crash structures, as well as all driver interfaces to maximize driver comfort. Over the course of the summer, the chassis goes through extensive design iterations, combining structural analysis, driver ergonomics, vehicle packaging, and functionality, to be ready to manufacture the following year. Additionally, care must be taken to comply with competition rules, all while achieving stiffness goals, chassis weight, and ease of manufacturing with minimal compromise. All of these design aspects are carefully optimized to allow the car and driver to become one in order to compete at the limit of performance.
The drivetrain of our car contains every component between the electric motor and wheel. The system contains an ultra high precision compound planetary gearset, laser sintered motor cooling jacket, and a topology optimized titanium suspension upright that doubles as gear housing. We utilize manufacturing methods from CNC machining to EDM to powder bed printing. Our design is driven by efficiency, reliability, and peak performance.
The composites team is primarily responsible for showing new team members various methods for making and analyzing carbon fiber parts. This team provides an excellent introduction to the UW Formula Team, and members will get to learn manufacturing techniques that cannot be found in the classroom. Skills learned include CAD, DFM, tooling design, manual layup techniques, materials and laminate testing, and more. Composites is also highly interdisciplinary, and helps out with many other teams’ technical projects such as aerodynamics, chassis, and eTrain. This is a great way to get to know all the different technical teams and gain experience.
The electronics team is responsible for designing the various printed circuit boards (PCBs) and integrating the low voltage systems throughout the vehicle. Projects include sensor data acquisition, driver interface systems, power distribution, and wiring to integrate all the electronic subsystems.
The future is now! We have cars that drive themselves! You may be asking yourself why a racing team consisting of race cars and race car drivers would care about autonomous driving. Good question. Turns out that we aren’t just conducting research and development in the field, but in the coming years autonomous driving will be a requirement in our competitions. Autonomous vehicles have four core components: perception, localization, path planning, and control. Perception uses a system of cameras, light detection and radar (LIDAR) systems, GPS and inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors to build a virtual environment. Once we’ve built an understanding of the world around us, we use localization to place the vehicle very precisely within that world. Now that we are able to perceive the world around us and know our place in it, we use path planning to find the most efficient route along the track. The final step is control where we construct a system of steering, throttling, and braking in order to execute the trajectory built during path planning. The future of automobiles is here; it’s up to you to make it a reality.
Electric Powertrain is a mechanical team with a heavy influence of electrical foundations knowledge (and of course mechanical). The team is responsible for our two battery packs (high voltage and low voltage), inverter setup and assembly, high voltage junction box and high voltage battery pack enclosure. We work closely with the electronics team to integrate PCBs from the electronics team into our overall system for data acquisition, reliability and safety.
We are currently using 550V powertrain coupled with AMK motors and inverters. To power the inverter, we have a battery pack that’s capable enough to complete an endurance race and able to output 80kW at any given moment. Our battery pack enclosure is made entirely out of carbon fiber, similar to our chassis. This gives us an edge in the weight to strength ratio compared to other teams. The design is completely dictated by rules, manufacturing methods and structural requirements. Similar to the EV industry, everything is focused onto one place for safety and serviceability.
Integrating the car's myriad mechanical and electrical systems, the Firmware Team develops software and configuration for the car's systems, including CAN bus communication, battery management, motor control, dashboard, GPS, and much more. The team implements the car's functionality on multiple microcontroller platforms like STM32 and RP2040 using an arsenal of programming tools, C/C++, Python, and proprietary ones included. The team also tackles a wide variety of development challenges outside the car, including telemetry network management and database design, and creating our in-house Linux operating system distribution.
The business presentation event brings together a team of engineering and business students to create a complete business plan and visual presentation for operating a fictional car company and bringing our car to market. At competition, our presentation is evaluated by a panel of judges as a part of our team’s overall score. There are opportunities to develop skills such as digital design, animations, financial analysis, market forecasting, industrial process design, and public speaking.
There is a lot of technology that is required to fully design and validate a formula racecar. Our technology team is in charge of providing software repositories, educating team members on the best software practices (such as version control), maintaining a fleet of insanely fast CAD computers, making sure our software licenses are up to date, and running the team website.
The sponsorship team provides the backbone for the team’s manufacturing needs in terms of procuring donations of money, materials, and services. We are in constant contact with both local and internationally operating companies who provide the most integral components in making this project possible. Members on the sponsorship team can expect to receive valuable experience in communicating with industry that is looked on by engineering recruiters as an important skill. In addition, successful individuals on the sponsorship team will get to know important figures within the local engineering community.
The goal of the public relations group is to promote the team to the rest of the university and Seattle community. As the public face of the team, members of the PR team attend numerous events such as the Seattle International Auto Show, Engineering Discovery Days, Paws on Science, engineering society fairs, and student activity fairs. We love to show off our cars, tell people about what we do, and let people know how they can get involved in the project as part of the team or as a sponsor. Public relations is also responsible for the team website content, newsletter, and press releases, and the production of various promotional materials including videos, t-shirts, and informational packets.
Resource management is responsible for the oversight of team resources, facilities, and safety to ensure maximum workflow efficiency. Our goal is to make sure our team has everything that it needs to successfully build a competitive race car, while keeping our workspaces functional and organized in the process. This includes maintaining our personal protective equipment (PPE) supply, storage areas, shop equipment and tools, as well as updating safety data sheets (SDS), disposing of chemicals and waste, and coordinating shop and fire extinguisher safety training for members as required by the mechanical engineering department.