CORVALLIS - Oregon State University's College of Engineering is hosting two unique vehicle races in the Northwest this weekend that will pit student-designed and built vehicles against one another in grueling endurance and obstacle courses.
One race takes place on the OSU campus in Corvallis and features human-powered, aerodynamic vehicles capable of reaching speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour. The other race is being held in Portland and Washougal, Wash., and features mud-throwing, mini-Baja race cars that can maneuver over logs and huge boulders.
The three-day Human-Powered Vehicle (HPV) Challenge kicks off on Friday, April 23, at McAlexander Fieldhouse, 1800 S.W. Jefferson Way on the OSU campus, where vehicles from more than 20 universities will be on display from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The HPV Challenge continues Saturday and Sunday on and near campus with sprint and utility courses and the 40-mile endurance event.
"The movement towards sustainable lifestyles is gaining a lot of ground, and many cool technologies are becoming increasingly accessible," said Kalan Guiley, OSU mechanical engineering student and organizer of the HPV event. "HPVs have a lot to offer. Transporting oneself with an HPV doesn't require stopping for gas. A lot of people are doing their part by riding their bikes, but if we can economically produce vehicles that are highly functional and almost as fast as cars, we have the potential to make a huge difference."
Guiley expects the HPV Challenge to draw hundreds of spectators to Corvallis and the OSU campus during the three days. Sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, all HPV events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit: http://groups.engr.oregonstate.edu/asme/hpv.
The two-day SAE Mini-Baja West competition begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, at the Portland Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Drive, and continues Sunday at the Washougal MX Park, 40205 N.E. Borin Rd., Washougal, Wash.
Organized by the Oregon Section of the Society of Automotive Engineers, the event will feature more than 90 teams. The competition is the culmination of year-long design projects that simulate real-world engineering processes. Students design, build, test, promote, and compete with vehicles that must be safe, easily transported, low maintenance, and able to negotiate all types of terrain and weather conditions without damage.
"This is all about a hands-on engineering education," said Bob Paasch, OSU professor of mechanical engineering. "As we educate the next generation of engineers, here at OSU we're building courses that are exciting and have real-world connections. I'm very proud of our student SAE team."
At last year's competition, the OSU mini-Baja team placed second in a field of teams from as far away as Korea and Poland. For more information on the SAE Mini-Baja event visit: http://www.sae.org and http://www.oregonsae.org.