The race car design competition Formula Hybrid has been awarded one of the most coveted prizes in engineering education, the ABET Innovation Award.
Launched by the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth in 2007, the annual Formula Hybrid competition challenges teams of undergraduate and graduate engineering students to collaboratively design and construct a fuel-efficient hybrid or an electric-only vehicle. Student teams work throughout the academic year to plan, design and build their cars before bringing them to the four-day competition in May at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
More than 3,500 students from 80 colleges and universities (54 domestic and 26 international) have participated in Formula Hybrid since it began. For many students, Formula Hybrid is their first experience collaborating across disciplines, from computer science to mechanical and electrical engineering. As a result of the competition, a number of institutions have developed Formula-Hybrid specific curricula to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. The competition is part of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Collegiate Design Series and is regarded as one of its most complex and dynamic.
As they compete in aspects of vehicle design, acceleration, handling, energy efficiency and endurance, teams demonstrate their creativity and engineering skills. Each year more than 100 volunteers, including engineering professionals from sponsors such as Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, LG Chem, BAE Systems, IEEE, SAE International and Toyota, support the students as mentors and judges. After watching students in action, many of the sponsors go on to offer internships and jobs to Formula Hybrid participants.
Dartmouth's Formula Hybrid Competition was selected "because of its broad and sustained impact in innovative energy-efficient design experiences that enhance the 21st century skills of students in ABET-accredited programs," said Steven Cramer, PhD., PE, Chair of the ABET Innovation Award Subcommittee and Vice-Provost for Teaching and Learning and Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"We're thrilled that Formula Hybrid has been recognized for its inventive and effective approach to educating students beyond the classroom," said Douglas Fraser, Founding Director of the Formula Hybrid Competition and Senior Research Engineer for the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. "We are also thrilled that so many students commit so much time to the competition, because it means they're engaged and learning skills they'll use for a lifetime."
About Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth
The Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth prepares leaders to solve pressing, real-world problems through engineering, research and entrepreneurship. Consistently ranked among the top colleges and universities for its commitment to teaching, Dartmouth is the first national research university to graduate a majority-female class of undergraduate engineers.
ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that accredits college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. For more information, please visit http://www.abet.org.