University of Malta Racing (UoMR) is a student’s association with a difference in that it designs and builds racing cars. Its history goes back to 2007, when it used to be known as the Maltese Falcon Racing Team, which took part in the first formula SAE and competed with its own racing car in Fiorano, Italy. The Formula SAE is organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The UoMR organisation was officially formed in 2012. The organisation is made up of approximately 60 students from eight faculties, where its executive committee is made up of two major teams: business and engineering.
All the members of the team are determined to work towards the organisation’s main aim of competing on an international scale. To compete on such a level, the team has to build their own car which takes a great amount of planning. Such an endeavour requires a multi-disciplinary approach involving the application of various fields including technological, engineering and material science.
Every detail must be taken into consideration and all the designs are first computerised using a software programme, and through the use of simulations the designs can be modified accordingly. When the planning is ready, the chassis is created whereby a mock-up is first produced so that members of the team can get some practice with the art of welding. The parts are then slowly assembled, from the engine to the electronics of the car, as the fitting of the turbo and engine requires a great deal of time.
This year’s engine has been modified and even though most of the parts are bought and brought over from abroad, UoMR have the ambition to start developing more parts to minimise the costs. The association is currently working on its third car which it will debut in the SAE competition in Italy in the coming months.
UoMR amalgamates research with product development and some students within the organisation have dedicated their thesis to auto motor research. The driver also holds a very important role in the competition, and a series of badger karting events have been organised to choose the driver. Ten have been shortlisted so far.
The car is soon to undergo its first testing, where teams are then judged on a variety of criteria from engineering design to business plans and cost reporting to putting cars against each other on the track. What is inspiring to watch is that these students from different faculties are collaborating together and acquiring skills and hands-on experience with research and the industry.
If you find the world of auto motor exciting and have further queries, you can contact the association on email@example.com, visit their website at www.uomracing.com or check their Facebook page www.facebook.com/UoMRacing.
Did you know!
• A horseless mechanised cart was sketched by Leonardo da Vinci in the early 1500s and like many of his designs, it wasn’t built in his lifetime.
• A Formula One car’s exhaust can reach temperatures of around 950oC, hot enough to melt aluminium.
• The 0-60mph electric car world record is held by a Formula SAE car.
• The frog’s tongue is sticky so as to wrap it around its prey. Once it catches the prey the tongue snaps back and throws the food down its throat.
• Marshmallow was made from the mallow plant (Athaea officinalis) that grows wild in marshes.
For more trivia see: www.um.edu.mt/think
• Self-driving scooter now joins autonomous golf carts and city cars. More than 100 visitors took rides on autonomous mobility scooters at MIT’s 2016 open house last spring in a trial software designed by researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), from the National University of Singapore and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). The same software was previously used on self-driving cars and golf carts. This is great news for someone whose mobility is impaired as the scooter can help them get around the house, use the golf cart in the building parking lot and use an autonomous car on the road. This trial’s control algorithms work both indoors and outdoors.
• Reducing tyre waste by using completely degradable, synthetic rubber. Tyres generate a lot of waste and have been on environmentalists’ blacklist for quite some time as they pile up in landfills. Scientists were inspired to get rid of this by developing a new way to create synthetic rubber. Once the tyres have been used up, the material can be easily degraded back to its chemical building blocks and used again in other products and tyres. New studies are being carried out about mixing the synthetic rubber with other tyre materials that include metals and fillers.
• Clever car racking and intelligent software to double number of cars in shipping containers. Thanks to innovative solutions developed at the University of Warwick for Trans-Rak International (TRI), the process of shipping cars could be safer and more efficient than ever before. A software has been created by Piero Filippin, who is the innovation manager at WMG, which automates the task of finding the best possible placement of cars in a shipping container. This allows for any combination of make or model and can thus double the vehicle capacity of shipping containers. This could lead to massive savings for the automotive industry so that cars can fit in fewer containers as they are transported across the world. This process is less time-consuming and Filippin expresses that the impact of such a system is a perfect example of how digital technologies provide value to manufacturing.
• For more soundbites listen to Radio Mocha on Radju Malta 2 every Monday at 1pm and Friday at 6pm https://www.facebook.com/RadioMochaMalta/