June Newsletter

Welcome to the SAE-A Newsletter. 

The June edition presents a snapshot of the new initiative in the emerging field of autonomous vehicles that the SAE-A has been working on with a University of Melbourne student project team.

Pouya Ghobadi, a former volunteer at the SAE-A shares the story of his journey after graduating from university, and how his volunteering experience helped him gain invaluable professional skills that have enabled him to achieve his goals.

We are also pleased to share a webinar recording on Power Components for Battery Applications from one of our corporate members, Vicor. The seminar is available for our members interested in learning about unique issues related to regulating battery supply. Read below for more details, and other industry highlights.

As always, get in touch with us if you have feedback or a story you'd like to share; send a message to editor@sae-a.com.au.



  1. Formula SAE-A - Autonomous Vehicle Integration Project
  2. SAE-A Volunteer in the Workforce
  3. Webinar: Power Components for Battery Application
  4. SAE-A Technical Journal: Paper on Rail Technology
  5. Reducing Fuel Consumption of Trucks Using Plasma Actuators
  6. Industry News Highlights
  7. SAE-A Events Update
  8. SAE-A Bookshop

1. Formula SAE-A - Autonomous Vehicle Integration Project

Anthony Hill from the The University of Melbourne presents a short report on the Autonomous Vehicle Integration Project. The project was undertaken by a team of five students as part of their Creative Innovative Engineering study unit. 

SAE-A has continued to build upon the value creation proposition developed by the student team, and has engaged with major industry leaders in the field to discuss the next steps in the autonomous vehicle space and its implementation in Formula SAE-A.

The integration of driver-less vehicles into society will be one of the greatest challenges of our young generation. This of course implies that any rare exposure our graduates can find in the autonomous industry will be invaluable experience. This concept outlined the issue delivered to our small yet diverse group of mechanical and mechatronic engineers from the University of Melbourne. Our task was to propose a seamless method to integrate autonomous vehicles into the existing formula SAE-A competition.

The University of Melbourne Project Team presenting their final report on the outcomes of their analysis.

Breaking this down into achievable targets, we immediately set upon research and discussion, focusing on fully defining and comprehending the scope of our project before moving forward into action. Starting with the student body, we designed surveys and gathered data from dozens of universities, both students and faculty, providing a spectrum of unique and passionate insights. Applying this new information to some industry leads, we could contact several large and a number of smaller companies, seeking insight, expertise and possibly support on some scale. From our semester-long efforts researching, networking and problem solving, we compiled a value creation proposition detailing the critical aspects of the competition that required SAE-A's attention, how to go about pursuing them, and each action's associated time-frame. Upon finalising the handover to SAE-A, I was fortunate enough to initiate discussions with a major stakeholder, subsequently securing the next step of the process, a promising future for autonomous vehicle integration, and instilling great confidence in our efforts for SAE-A.

The duration of this project saw us undertaking a range of new skills in an unfamiliar environment, guiding us out of our comfort zone and into the professional world. Aided by our mentor, Greg Maratos, many of us were able to learn, thrive, and demonstrate value for SAE-A in these challenging circumstances. Leading to a variety of personal gains, including an invaluable understanding of basic professional interaction, priceless networking experience, and a valid sense of achievement and purpose on behalf of the SAE-A community.


2. SAE-A Volunteer in the Workforce

Pouya Ghobadi, former volunteer at the SAE-A, shares his story of professional development, and of building relationships in the industry which ultimately led him to achieving his goal of securing a full-time position as an Engineer.

Since graduating from Masters of Mechanical Engineering at the end of 2014, I worked part-time as a Design Engineer at a cement pole manufacturing company and also became part of the SAE-A as a volunteer. 

Fast-forward two years, today I work as a Field Engineer at InterCAD where my role is to support the manufacturing sector in the Queensland region by offering CAD modelling and simulation training, and technical support to manufacturers and CAD users.

The journey has been full of challenges and testing times, however, persistence, optimism, being surrounded by incredible people, and continually striving to be better every single day has been the key to achieving my goal.

The Journey

I have a strong passion for the automotive industry and motor racing, but unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to participate in the Formula SAE-A competition as an engineering student. Back in 2015, I witnessed the Formula SAE-A competition up-close as a spectator, and it was an incredible experience to see student teams building racing machines that performed a range of different tasks on a real racing track. Seeing this first-hand, I decided to get involved. 

Since then, being part of the Society has enabled me to gain a rich understanding of the automotive industry in Australia, the plans for the future of this industry, and the bright minds behind it.

Pouya Ghobadi (left) at the 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix with SAE-A team.

Once again I returned to the Formula SAE-A event in 2016, but this time as a volunteer. At the competition, I met many inspiring engineers from all over the world, including engineers from USA, Germany, and China, who were working for Tesla, Audi, and Ford, and were there to volunteer at the Formula SAE competition.

Earlier this year, I was working on a SAE-A project related to the process of Finite Element Analysis, and as part of this I got in touch with a contact at InterCAD. Coincidentally, they happened to have a job vacancy at the time, and the work I had done as part of my university degree, part-time design engineer role, and the project at SAE-A, led me to be perfectly equipped for this role. After a series of interviews, I was offered the full-time position!

As a person who has volunteered for a number of companies and organisations, I can tell you with confidence that the experience you gain will help develop your understanding about the industry whilst developing your interpersonal skills and building your network. And these are some of the foundations to being successful in your career. Participating in such a manner is truly a huge step forward in becoming involved in the industry you aspire to be a part of.

I'd like to thank everyone at the SAE-A for the opportunity to be a part of a dedicated, talented and positive team. I have looked up to the team in many ways, and I am grateful for everything I have gained from them in a short period of time.

The team at the SAE-A National Office wishes Pouya all the best for his future endeavours. 

For volunteering opportunities involving engineering projects, event coordination, publications and communications, and more, contact the SAE-A National Office:

Phone: (03) 9676 9568
Email: info@sae-a.com.au

3. Webinar: Power Components for Battery Application

This Vicor webinar discusses some of the unique challenges of regulating battery supply, using the Automotive Hybrid Voltages and Technologies as one of the examples. 

The application also extends to automotive accessories, alternative green power generation on a residential and a distribution level, and industrial and portable battery back-up equipment.

The webinar discusses the following items:
1. Battery Powered Systems
Applications and trends in the market
2. Regulating Batteries
Battery specific challenges Universal challenges
3. Choosing a DC-DC Regulator 
What to look for
4. Vicor Solutions and Benefits
Please click on the image below to access the webinar on the SAE-A website (available for members only).

Vicor designs, manufactures and markets modular power components and complete power systems used in the aerospace and defense electronics, enterprise and high performance computing, industrial equipment and automation, telecommunications and network infrastructure, and vehicles and transportation markets.

For more information on Vicor, click here.

4. SAE-A Technical Journal: Paper on Rail Technology

The SAE-A Technical Journal is an avenue for members, and others, to share high quality and vetted works on automotive technology. 

The first paper on rail technology has been published in the latest issue of the journal. The paper titled, Vehicle Fatigue and Rail Track Condition Monitoring System discusses the measurement system installed on Bombardier's E-Class light rail vehicle which shows how the vehicle fatigue life can be measured throughout the life of the vehicle and compared to varying track conditions.

To visit the SAE-A VTE Journal, click on the link below:


We encourage anyone that has something to share to consider contributing to the journal, The key to the success of the Technical Journal is participation of members. This process of sharing knowledge helps drive all aspects of modern society forward.

If your idea, concept, project or innovation is something new or novel, then you have something worth sharing. It may only be a small addition to what is already known, but that addition is still valuable. One way to ensure that you have something new is to read other papers on the same topic – you can find such papers on Google Scholar.

Alternatively, if you have a project or item that is not necessarily new, but is still relevant to the industry, then you can submit this work as a case study.

We look forward to your participation and the Technical Journal Editor is available to assist with advice and to steer you in the right direction to publishing your paper.

For more information about the SAE-A Technical Journal, contact Clint:

Email: technicaleditor@sae-a.com.au
SAE-A Technical Journal: http://journals.sfu.ca/vte-j/index.php/vte-j/index

5. Reducing Fuel Consumption of Trucks Using Plasma Actuators

For road vehicles, wind resistance increases fuel consumption. But one way to fight wind is with wind. Researchers in Sweden are experimenting with reducing drag on trucks with electric wind devices that mimic the way vortex generators increase lift on airplane wings.

You might have noticed them while staring out an airplane window, studying the wing. Those little fins – the vortex generators on the upper side of the airfoil – create vortices to enhance lift at takeoff and landing. Now researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology are successfully testing a way to reduce drag on trucks by creating similar air vortices on a vehicle’s front corners.

But unlike airplane vortex generators made of solid material, these are invisible ones made with the help of electric wind.

Tests at KTH show that trucks could reduce fuel consumption by up to 5 percent by using plasma to cut wind resistance.

KTH researcher Julie Vernet says the electric wind vortices she is testing can reduce fuel consumption by up to 5 percent on a flat-nosed, cab-over-engine design that is the standard for tractor trucks in Europe and Japan.

Vernet says the electric wind is created by plasma actuators, devices that apply a high voltage between two electrodes. Surrounding air molecules become ionized and accelerate through the electric field – which results in wind. There are no moving mechanical parts, and unlike vortex generators on an airplane wing, these actuators can adapt to the strength and direction of the wind, she says.

“Also, trucks can’t have sharp things sticking out of the body, so this is a way to achieve the same effect,” says project supervisor Henrik Alfredsson, Professor of Fluid Physics at KTH.

Vortex generators operate on a basic aerodynamics principle – that if you reduce the separation of the airflow on the leeward side of an airfoil, you can enhance the lift and at the same time reduce the drag.

Researcher Julie Vernet adjusts a plasma actuator on a test model.

Likewise, when wind hits a truck at an angle, friction deprives the air of the energy it needs to push all the way around the opposite side of the truck. As it moves around the corner towards the leeward side of the vehicle, the air in the boundary layer slows down and cannot any longer follow the surface. This separation of the flow forms a bubble filled with eddies and swirls of air. That, incidentally, also explains why rain drops don’t blow off your rear window but sort of swirl around instead.

A vortex generator placed at the front corner slices through the boundary layer right at its head, creating a spiral of air that mixes high velocity air into the boundary layer. This injection of high velocity air towards the surface keeps the air from separating and makes it follow the surface and thereby lowering the drag substantially.

Reducing this drag has a measurable impact. It’s estimated that more than 20 percent of the vehicle’s energy losses come from wind resistance.

“Our ultimate goal is to reduce the flow separation that occurs on the front corners of the truck,” Vernet says. “By adding momentum close to the surface, the size of the separated region is reduced.”

Source: KTH The Royal Institute of Technology

6. Industry News Highlights

Social media highlights from April 2017 to May 2017.
Check out the SAE-A's social media channels for more industry and Society news. 

MotoGP set for all-electric support class in 2019

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has confirmed plans for an all-electric MotoGP support class, which could begin as early as 2019.  Read more

New way to test self-driving cars could cut 99.9% of validation costs

The process, which was developed using data from more than 25 million miles of real-world driving, can cut the time required to evaluate robotic vehicles' handling of potentially dangerous situations by 300 to 100,000 times. And it could save 99.9% of testing time and costs, the researchers say. Read more

7. Events Update

The SAE-A has been working hard this year to deliver some of the best events in the industry to contribute towards the professional development of our members.

Click HERE for the SAE-A's 2017 Calendar of Events for our 90th year.

Here's what's on in the next three months:

Problem Solving and Continuous Improvement for Automotive Professionals (VIC)

June 13th, 2017: 9:00am - 5:00pm AEST

Facility Tour - CSIRO 3D Printing Metal in Engineering (VIC) 

June 22nd, 2017: 11:00am - 1:00pm AEST

Introduction to Crash Investigation and Reconstruction (VIC)

July 10th - 14th, 2017

Early bird discount available

Cost Reporting (VIC)

July 25th, 2017: 6:30pm - 8:00pm AEST


90th Anniversary Party (VIC)

August 4th, 2017: 3:30pm - 8:30pm AEST

Mindfulness for Efficient Working (VIC)

August 10th - 11th, 2017: 8:30am - 4:30pm AEST

Modifying a Light Vehicle or Motorcycle (WA)

Aug 15th, 2017: 5:45pm - 9:00pm AWST

Modifying a Light Vehicle or Motorcycle (QLD)

Aug 22nd, 2017: 5:45pm - 9:00pm AEST

Modifying a Light Vehicle or Motorcycle (TAS)

Aug 29th, 2017: 5:45pm - 9:00pm AEST

8. SAE-A Bookshop

To order the featured book below, visit the SAE-A Bookshop, or
Contact Rose at the SAE-A National Office

Email: rose@sae-a.com.au
Phone: (03) 9676 9568

From Engineer to Manager

If you are looking for a lively, down-to-earth experience in the journey to innovative engineering management, this is definitely the book for you. The author’s 20-plus year perspective indicates that, while most engineers will spend the majority of their careers as managers, most are dissatisfied with the transition. Much of this frustration is the result of lack of preparation and training. This book gives you a solid grounding in the critical attitudes and principles needed for success.

Non-Member Price: $164.00

SAE-A/Joint SAE-I Member Price: $148.00

Postage & Handling (Australia):
Prices quoted include GST


Vehicle Technology Engineer (VTE) Magazine Subscription

The Vehicle Technology Engineer (VTE) is the official magazine of the Society of Automotive Engineers - Australasia, featuring technology innovations and industry updates. The VTE is distributed via print and email with 4 issues published per year (April, July, October and December)

SAE-A Member Price: Included in the membership package
Non-Member Price (Australia): $145.00
Non-Member Price (Overseas): $165.00

To subscribe to the VTE Magazine, click here.

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