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Student teams are ground zero for next-generation of simulation engineers

As we post this blog, hundreds of students are gathering at Winton Motor Raceway, north-east Victoria, for the 2019 Formula-SAE Australasian competition, taking place from Dec 5-8.  More than 30 student teams from all around Australia and New Zealand, plus international teams from as far as India & Japan will be showcasing their student designed and built open-wheeled racing cars in a competition that assesses both the technical performance as well as business/communications attributes of each team.

Now in it’s 20th year, the competition is run by the Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia (SAE-A), the Asia Pacific professional body for automotive and mobility engineers. As well as the excitement of the competition, what motivates students to participate in Formula SAE is most often the incredible learning experience it offers and how this translates to skills that really shine on their CV (such as real-world application of simulation skills in CFD and FEA).

SAE-A chairman Adrian Feeney observes that “FSAE-A has been shown to be a prime recruiting ground for engineering jobs at local automotive companies like Ford, Holden, Paccar and many other companies which have substantial local engineering teams. Team members are often headhunted for the unique skillsets they have developed in engineering, management, leadership, teamwork, marketing and finance.”

At the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne, LEAP interviewed a few of the leading Victorian teams who had their 2018 cars on display.  We asked them about how they used ANSYS and also what aspects of the car that the team was focusing on improving in 2019 – and to maintain secrecy we locked their responses away in a secure safe! Now that the competition is upon us, we can finally reveal what each team said 9 months ago back in March 2019 – and for those of you who are lucky enough to be attending the F-SAE competition in Winton this week, you can now be the judge of whether they’ve been successful in these endeavours!

A highlight in 2019 is also expected to be demonstration runs by Australia’s first student-built, fully autonomous race car, the Monash Motorsport M19-D, ahead of its planned competition debut in Germany in 2020. Developed over the past three years, the M19-D utilises an electric powertrain and showcases advances in driverless automotive technology such as artificial intelligence algorithms for environmental perception, super-accurate GPS, LiDAR and a stereoscopic camera system.


LEAP and ANSYS now jointly sponsor an award at the annual Formula SAE competition, helping to support the expanding use of simulations within the many Australasian teams. Both companies are excited by the vision of SAE-Australasia and already seeing the benefits of more job-ready engineering graduates becoming available to ANSYS customers in industry.

Assistance by LEAP engineers to Formula-SAE students has recently grown to include help with applications such as:

  • Fluid dynamics and thermal simulations – aerodynamics, radiator flow, battery cooling…
  • Structural mechanics and dynamics simulation – suspension, chassis, composites, additive manufacturing of complex parts
  • Electromagnetics – motors, inverters, EMI/EMC testing, battery systems
  • Autonomous vehicles – sensors & vision systems, antennae & electronics, safety-critical software certification
  • Digital Twins – leveraging simulation-based ROMs in fast and accurate system simulations

Engineers at LEAP have noted that many students are still unaware of the free ANSYS software and learning resources available to them, such as the ANSYS Student software that can be downloaded for self-paced learning. To assist, LEAP Australia has developed an academic portal to help students apply ANSYS to the many complex applications relevant to student team competitions, available here: https://www.leapaust.com.au/leap-academic-portal/. Likewise, the ANSYS Student Community forum at https://studentcommunity.ansys.com/  includes online forums specifically geared towards:

  • How to install & use the free ANSYS Student, with Tutorials for specific applications
  • Open Discussion of using ANSYS for student team competitions

Whilst the vast majority of student teams already have access to ANSYS through their central university licences, LEAP and ANSYS are able to provide additional licences specifically for the use of student teams, along with tailored mentoring and support.  Student teams can expand their partnership with LEAP and ANSYS by enquiring at https://www.leapaust.com.au/student-teams/

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