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AU students to compete in national off-road vehicle design competition in Kansas
5/05/14

Eight Alfred University (AU) seniors will compete in the Baja Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) competition at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS, May 22-25.

Baja SAE consists of a series of three regional competitions for SAE student members that simulate real-world engineering design projects. Students are tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive rough terrain. The vehicles are evaluated through a series of dynamic and static challenges, including design and technical evaluations, a sled pull, and tests in acceleration, suspension, maneuverability and endurance.

AU’s 2014 SAE Baja team consists of seniors John Aylward from Oswego; Brett Baginski, Springville; Ethan Berberich, Rotterdam; Avery Chase, Great Valley; Evan Cochrane, Harvard, MA; Allison Jernigan, Horseheads; Brian Kennedy, Gillett, PA; and Benjamin Thomas, Massena.

Dr. Joe Rosiczowski, AU associate professor of mechanical engineering, is the team’s faculty adviser. He holds a bachelor of science, master of science, and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University, Potsdam.

The AU student representatives will compete with 100 other teams to win a contract from a fictitious firm to produce their vehicle for the consumer market. Each team must design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle as well as generating financial support for their project.

All vehicles are powered by a 10-horsepower Intek Model 20 engine donated by Briggs & Stratton Corp. For over 25 years, Briggs & Stratton has enabled SAE to provide each team with a dependable engine free of charge. Use of the same engine by all teams creates a more challenging engineering design test.

The team has worked since fall 2013 to design and build their vehicle, with the goals of creating a safe and efficient design that improved upon the previous year’s model. They have constructed a new frame, designed the suspension, steering and drivetrain, installed wiring and safety equipment, and thoroughly tested the vehicle.

As part of the team’s efforts to increase visibility for their project, team members Thomas and Berberich were to give a presentation at the annual speech contest for the Olean Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in May.