Baja SAE is an international collegiate design competition organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers where students design, fabricate, test, and present a prototype single-seat off-road vehicle to compete for a fictitious manufacturing contract. There are currently three North American competitions in addition to events held in Brazil, Korea, and South Africa. At the U.S. events, there are typically 100-120 teams per competition from across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America. Recent competitions have also had teams from as far away as India, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, South Korea, and Israel, making the Baja SAE competitions true international events.
Competition consists of two days of static events and two days of dynamic events. The static events include:
- Technical Inspection- to make sure the prototype conforms to the rules, such as the spec Briggs and Stratton engine, and has the necessary safety features
- Cost Evaluation- to test the team’s ability to make cost-effective decisions as part of the design process
- Design Scrutineering- where students demonstrate their engineering knowledge and validate their design decisions to a panel of judges
The dynamic events consist of:
- Acceleration Event – a 100 to 150 ft drag race
- Pulling or Hill Climb Event – to evaluate the low end power of vehicle
- Land Maneuverability – to test the vehicle’s cornering ability
- Water Maneuverability – to assess the marine capability of the vehicle (east events only)
- Rock Crawl or Suspension Event – to evaluate the suspension design
- Endurance Event – a four hour, wheel-to-wheel race to determine durability and reliability
UMBC Baja SAE
The UMBC Baja SAE team was reestablished in 2002 and has been competing in all three North American events each year since 2010. The dedication of our team members is one of the keys to our success. In addition to the typical degree course load, new members spend approximately 5 to 15 hours, and senior members spend upwards of 30+ hours a week working on the project without receiving classroom credit. There are typically between 15 and 25 members, consisting of both undergraduate and graduate students. Many of our undergraduate members continue on to graduate studies at UMBC. The backgrounds of our members are diverse, ranging from materials research to management to racing. The project allows members apply classroom theory to a real world problem while enhancing teamwork and project management skills.
UMBC's team facilities and equipment include:
- Design Lab- A room dedicated specifically for the team's design and collaboration efforts. Computers are equipped with Solidworks CAD software, as well as other useful programs such as Lotus Shark and Camnetics GearTeq.
- Manufacturing facilities- Referred to simply as "The Shop", this space is a converted bus wash bay containing all of the teams machining and fabrication equipment which includes a mill, lathe, welder, grinder, band saw, drill press, and hand tools.
- Test Track- Newly created in 2012, this is a dedicated space on campus allowing the team to drive vehicles over actual obstacles resembling those that are seen during the competition events