Sri Guru Gobind Singhji Institute of Engineering & Technology from Maharashtra took the top spot out of the 31 participating teams
Mahindra BAJA SAEINDIA 2020 ended on a high note with 31 teams facing the wet and muddy endurance track race at Chitkara University, Punjab. Out of a total of 77 teams, 31 were cleared after evaluation by the experts for participation. Sri Guru Gobind Singhji Institute of Engineering & Technology and Government College of Engineering from Maharashtra grabbed first and second positions respectively, with the third position taken by Aditya College of Engineering from Andhra Pradesh. The entire event became more complicated for participants as they had to face A wet and muddy track due to rains a day earlier. A new category of ‘Design’ included this time was an added difficulty for the teams. The organisers want to include more aerodynamics into the picture to make these little buggies more refined and finessed products than just crude projects.
The first and major hurdle being a technical evaluation of the buggies, all vehicles undergo a thorough examination under categories like design, cost-effectiveness, and marketing pitch. Mahindra BAJA is in its 13th year now and most of the populous easily recognize its significance. The primary idea is to create a single-seat, off-road vehicle limited to 60kmph which is a showcase of innovation ideas by various college teams. Students get to imagine, plan and create these vehicles, which is a great stepping into applied engineering. Participating and succeeding in the endurance race gives these students a chance to work with Mahindra in the future.
Leg 2 this year became a bit complex owing to waterlogging across the track due to rains earlier. Teams mostly prepare for hard terrain and this dust as a major issue during most BAJA races, but water and slushy pits is something both teams and organizers had to face as the 2 km challenge at Chitkara. However, the gauntlet was picked up by both parties and the event proceeded with some modifications. Organizers modified and bypassed many hurdles to manage elevation and traction challenges across the track. In the midst of cheering spectators and the smell of burning clutches, participants soldiered on slipping and sliding around the track. These are all rear-wheel driven buggies making moving forward a combination of grip, chassis efficiency and careful throttle inputs from the driver. But this also meant more damages and DNF cases.
At the end of a gruelling challenge, the winner was awarded a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh, and the runner up received Rs 1.25 lakh. The winning team was also awarded the Durability award for running through with the least damages. There are two very critical takeaways from this competition. The spirit of the students and organizers is commendable in the face of adversity. And the learning from this project for all parties involved. The vehicle starts as a concept, is beaten into shape as a functioning vehicle, evaluated by experts, tested on the track and then commended by a jury. All of this happens under the umbrella of performance numbers and validation metrics for fairness. The constant effort to expand the programme is a must for deep learning and must continue with more hardiness.