A prior year’s SAE Formula car in a practice run in the Lawrence Tech parking lot.
SOUTHFIELD – A $10,000 grant to support Blue Devil Motorsports at Lawrence Technological University was among 22 grants announced Monday by the DENSO North America Foundation, the North American philanthropic arm of the global automotive supplier DENSO.
The grants, which total nearly $1 million, fund programs providing hands-on learning opportunities in areas from robotics and thermodynamics to design and materials development.
Blue Devil Motorsports fields five teams in student vehicle competitions run by SAE International, formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers. Kingman Yee, associate professor of engineering at LTU and faculty advisor for the SAE Collegiate Chapter at LTU, thanked DENSO for more than a decade of uninterrupted support for Blue Devil Motorsports.
“The Blue Devil Motorsports organization, students and faculty alike, is grateful for DENSO’s continued support of its activities,” Yee said. “Support from companies like DENSO is vital to the success of our student design competition teams, and encourages the students to do their best..”
“Innovation throughout the manufacturing industry will continue to produce more growth opportunities for students in skilled trades and technical fields,” said Doug Patton, president of the DENSO North America Foundation and executive vice president of engineering at DENSO International America Inc. “Companies will lean on this young work force for years to come, and in order to succeed we need to empower students by giving a better sense for what they’ll experience in the workplace.”
Added auto industry expert David Cole, a member of the foundation’s board: “The automotive industry relies more and more on those with expertise in fields like robotics and electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Supporting STEM education enables DENSO to develop the next generation of talent needed to fill these roles.”
Each year, Blue Devil Motorsports offers more than 100 LTU students valuable, career-enhancing experience in competitions that challenge them to tackle real-world design and engineering. These competitions are an integral part of Lawrence Tech’s engineering curriculum, which has emphasized combining “theory and practice” since the university’s inception. Nearly 30 years ago, this belief prompted Lawrence Tech to become one of the first universities in the United States to participate in the SAE collegiate design competitions.
In these year-long projects, open to all undergraduates, students work in teams similar to those they will encounter in industry. They research, design, build, and test their vehicles and aircraft, as well as raise funds and create marketing presentations. At the end of the academic year, they test their knowledge and skill against other student teams in regional and international competitions.
LTU participates in the original Formula SAE, in which students build a scaled-down Indy race car, as well as Aero Design, in which students build a large radio-controlled aircraft; Baja, for off-road vehicles; Formula Hybrid, in which students build a hybrid gas-electric race car; and Supermileage, in which students build an ultra-high-mileage vehicle.