Last week’s Emerging Tech announcement at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway brought to light the enormous role that college and university students can play in advancing automotive technology.
On May 7th, as part of the celebration of the 100th running on the Indy 500, the IMS will welcome colleges and universities from across the United States to showcase energy efficiency, solar power and hybrid power. Emerging Tech Day at the track will include a Formula Hybrid competition, an American Solar Challenge series event and an exhibition kart race by Purdue University students.
What fans must really be thinking though is whether or not Emerging Tech Day will be worth an outing to the track. After learning more about the event, I expect a lot of “yes” responses to that question.
Formula Hybrid competitions challenge students to design, build and race high-performance, fuel-efficient, plug-in hybrid vehicles. The competition requires advanced electrical, mechanical and computer engineering applications but more importantly, encourages students to work within a team to drive innovation.
Returning to Indianapolis in May from Western Michigan University will be student competitors in the American Solar Challenge known as the ‘Sunseeker’ team. Their team, including the six engineering students who traveled to Indianapolis last week to display their car, will spend countless hours tweaking the solar technology empowering their ‘Sunseeker’ car (Check out some neat photos of the car here) before the competition.
Students from Purdue University in nearby West Lafayette, Indiana will race electric-powered karts in a Grand Prix-style race. A special course will be built at the Speedway for the evGrandPrix event. The winner will be the team with overall best kart design, race placement and energy efficiency during 100 laps of racing. The event will include qualification runs and sprint races,
As part of his speech announcing Emerging Tech day, Jeff Belskus, IMS president and chief executive officer, stated that “There’s no better place than IMS to display green technology due to the Speedway’s rich heritage of automotive innovation through the Indianapolis 500.”
Emerging Tech day on May 7th will provide race fans with an inside look at the innovative minds of the college and university students who may someday revolutionize racing as we know it. As if that was not enough, there will also be race action on the track through the evGrandPrix event. Personally, I cannot think of a better way to gear up for the 100th running of the Indy 500.
Now it’s your turn. Do you plan to join us at the track on May 7th for Emerging Tech day? What do you think the greatest innovation in motorsports has been? As a student, were you ever part of similar competitions?