Rowan SAE “Rumbles” With Three Student-Made Off-Road Vehicles

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Rowan’s Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) held a joint test drive at the South Jersey Technology Park track on Saturday, March 5. Rowan invited New York University’s SAE to make the trip down to Glassboro in order to practice driving, maintenance and the upkeep of their vehicles. 

Being able to collaborate with other universities has provided Rowan’s SAE with more opportunities to perform hands-on mechanical engineering work. Each of Rowan’s three vehicles are entirely student-made and continuously serviced, resulting in a priceless experience for club members. 

Club Secretary Bianca Jeremiah detailed the incredible impact SAE has had on her college career. 

“Joining this club is probably the best decision I’ve made as an engineer,” Jeremiah said. On top of the hands-on mechanical experience, she believes SAE did wonders for improving her team-management and problem-solving skills, all vital for a successful engineering career. 

Throughout the event, cars would lap around the dirt track, occasionally requiring on-scene service. SAE had a mobile body shop on location, resulting in the group tackling minor issues within minutes. Each car in the rotation was planned by the students in their clinic’s portion of the club.

According to Jeremiah, the underclassmen of SAE are required to shadow the service of other vehicles, while also prototyping their grade’s off-road vehicle. When SAE students become upperclassmen, they begin construction on their grade’s project. Doing this promotes a healthy workload increase and allows underclassmen to get their feet wet before tackling a large vehicle. 

The three vehicles Rowan SAE had on display were a tan car, junior car and formula car. NYU brought their own off-roader down the turnpike, as the opportunities for test drives in New York City are limited. 

Being able to connect with other universities and work through different mechanical situations with them prove vital towards the members’ professional experience. 

“This is a paramount experience in my development as an engineer, and I am definitely going to use all of it in my future career,” Jeremiah said. 

The dirt track consisted of multiple sharp turns and jumps, giving ample opportunity for thrill seekers to test out the vehicles. Upon signing a safety waiver, volunteers could drive the cars for a couple of laps, ultimately testing the mechanical work done beforehand. For long stretches, all four vehicles would be running properly on the track at the same time. The moment this changed, much like a pit crew in racing, the club got right to work, even if it meant performing on-track adjustments.

SAE plans to test drive their vehicles every other weekend, weather permitting. They also seek to collaborate with more universities in the future, providing more opportunities to share the track.

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