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Reflections on Make the Future Live Festival at Shell Eco-marathon in UK

Last month, I attended the Shell Eco-marathon event in London – the European leg of Shell’s global engineering contest where teams from universities design, optimise, analyse, manufacture and drive low profile, cone-shaped vehicles. Similar in nature to the popular Formula Student competition, Shell’s version challenges students to develop a vehicle that can travel as far as possible with a set amount of fuel, be it petrol, hydrogen cell, or electric power. Altair acted as a global sponsor for the event which meant we were able to go behind the scenes and meet with the student teams, discussing their designs and hearing about the innovative approaches they had taken to squeeze every last mile out of their vehicles.

When arriving at our booth, students could hold small 3D printed components – which had been optimised with Altair’s software simulation tools. In addition to this, students helped theirselves to case studies, brochures and educational papers. We even provided 1000 cool Altair cups (which had been used until there were none left!) for onsite students to stay hydrated in sunny London.

Another attraction of our booth – the official Robot Bike, which was displayed to show off its 3D printed component structures and had also been optimised with Altair’s simulation software – HyperWorks. On one of the days, students from Indonesia visited our booth and were fascinated by the Robot Bike that had been displayed. As you can see from their faces – very happy!

Altair’s Role

The role for Altair was to network with students to introduce our CAE software – HyperWorks. This is because Shell Eco-marathon teams can benefit from the optimisation capabilities in Altair’s software package to maximise vehicle performance.

Off-Track Awards

Altair’s simulation technologies fit naturally with the Shell Eco-marathon teams design needs with applications ranging from lightweight structures, and optimising the aerodynamics of the outer shell, down to the development of both electric and combustion motors. All of which have a direct relationship with the overall fuel efficiency of the vehicle. It was fascinating to understand how students are utilising simulation software to drive the design of their entries. Fady Aba Yazid and Lutz Dobrowohl – both Altair representatives were honoured in taking part in the judging panel tasked with assessing each team’s car and nominating teams for the Off-Track awards for both Urban Concept and Prototype Designs, awarding the winning teams in each category with 2500 euros which Shell generously provided.
At the end of the Off-Track awards, there were 3 winning teams chosen!

1st: Tu Fast TU Munich Car 702 - The team from TU Munich was selected as a winner of the vehicle design award because they showed a very deep understanding on engineering principles and the benefits alongside with drawbacks of all the ideas and decisions as well as acknowledging the engineering process on a component level. Ultimately, TU Fast from TU Munich showed a truly professional operation of an engineering development team that were ready to tackle the task ahead.

2nd: Green Team Twente, Car 601 – The Green Team Twente was selected as 2nd place winner because they showed a more single-directional approach to their car design towards a more efficient vehicle over a more practical one.
3rd: Skap 2 Warsaw, Car 507 – Team Skrap 2 Warsaw caught the attention of Altair judges because of the unconventional approach to external aerodynamics with a Venturi-shaped rear end of the vehicle. The concept was chosen and further improved upon using simulation and wind tunnel tests which shown an understanding behind how to carry out simulation tasks to maximise vehicle performance.

Fady - Altair UK's application engineer had previously released a blog about the Shell Bright Ideas Challenges based on school children from across the UK that have been tasked in creating new concepts to develop future power solutions (check out part 1 and part 2). The winners of the challenge were presented during the shell Make the Future Live festival which took place in London and I was fortunate enough to be in the crowd to experience the winner announcement!

Altair France Representative ready to experience the feel of sitting in an energy-efficient vehicle!

Our account manager from Altair France accepted the opportunity of being a passenger in an energy-efficient vehicle. She enjoyed her surroundings whilst the unique-shaped vehicle lapped around the race track – despite wearing a thick puffy safety uniform on a scorching hot day!

Overall Experience

The event from my experience was very lively! Several teams from across the world attended the event to manufacture and drive their cone-shaped vehicles on the tracks of London. The image above shows an Altair representative from Germany with an international team – from the picture, you can see that they are proud of their vehicle achievement! Ultimately, it was great to see the energy and enthusiasm from all team participants throughout the entire event.

If you are a team participant for Shell Eco-marathon next year, get your free academic license to get started now for 2019! Learn More & Request License