World-class Dutch racing team uses Jama Software to plan, build, test and deliver an innovative electric car to win the Student Formula racing title in Silverstone, England.
The modern product delivery solution allowed the race team to dramatically improve collaboration across all stakeholders, resulting in significantly faster decisionmaking and information sharing. The result was a truly innovative electric car that was delivered on time and achieved all its initial design goals.
The prestigious Delft University of Technology (DUT) in the Netherlands is recognized as one of the world’s top learning institutions in the fields of science and technology. The university’s stellar reputation has been earned over the years because DUT students are expected to think independently and take creative approaches to problem solving. This desire to innovate is evident in FS Team Delft, a group of nearly 100 elite engineering students who have never been deterred by a challenge and embrace the notion of problem solving. In fact, FS Team Delft has a long history of pushing the limits year after year in their quest to build a faster car with a better design.
For the past 14 years, FS Team Delft has competed against 500 other teams from across the globe in the ultra-competitive Formula Student car race series. Designed to excite and encourage students to pursue a career in engineering, Formula Student offers young people an opportunity to build a highly complex single seat racing car in the demanding environment of motorsport competition. Last year, FS Team Delft decided to make dramatic design changes to create their most innovative electric car yet. The new vehicle – the DUT 14 – would be created to push the limits of design for an electric vehicle.
Delft University Results Summary
- The entire team and external mentors can track changes and key decision in real-time using the collaboration stream
- Team members can be more productive when working remotely by accessing Jama on any mobile device in any location
- Future race teams will benefit from shared knowledge, as they will have access to all information regarding the DUT 14 and the knowledge will accrue
- Data integrity was preserved throughout the entire process by using advanced record keeping capabilities
An ambitious redesign: The DUT 14
However, there were concerns the new car design might be too ambitious. The team set out to build an extremely lightweight vehicle with numerous completely new aerodynamic devices. The engineers even designed their own smaller tires to reduce transmission weight by 50 percent compared to the previous model. The transmission, brake system and the motor were all redesigned and placed inside each wheel. By connecting the transmission to the wheel rim, the engineers could eliminate wheel spokes and further decrease weight. In addition, they reduced the size and weight of the chassis by using new aluminum honeycomb material instead of foam. To achieve their goal of reducing the overall weight by 45 pounds, the racing team needed to redesign, build and test the new car in just 9 months.
The team knew that better decision making was key. The DUT 14 development process required the racing team to effectively manage more than 700 individual requirements which translated to tens of thousands of separate decisions to track when all stakeholders were taken into account. To be successful, the team needed a much better way to collaborate both across the core team and also with dozens of outside advisors to make decisions on the prototype and other design elements. They knew their old approach of using Word documents, Drop Box and email to communicate information would no longer work. As a result, Tesla engineer and FS Team Delft alumni suggested the team use Jama’s modern product delivery solution to give them the edge.
“From the beginning of the process, there wasn’t a moment to waste for our engineering team. When certain components in the plan proved to be too costly and time consuming, we needed to come up with alternatives quickly to meet our tight timelines,” said FS Team Delft Manager Tim de Morée. “It was obvious our old approach for communicating wasn’t working, so we chose Jama because it provided our team with a modern solution offering richer collaboration and, ultimately, faster decision making.”
Enabling faster and better decision making
Jama Software’s intuitive system provided a smooth onboarding process and the entire team saw the benefits of using the product delivery platform almost immediately. The social features offered a new way for the entire team to collaborate with one another and share information, both across the core FS Team Delft group and also amongst external advisors. In particular, Jama’s collaboration stream provided a better method for the team to share schematics and diagrams, while also staying current on changes and tracking key decisions as they were made in real-time. With Jama, team members could now be more effective when they worked remotely because they could access Jama from any location on their mobile devices.
The 2014 season turned out to be an epic year for FS Team Delft. The team of young engineers not only released their car on time, but all their initial design goals were achieved. In September 2013, they set the Guinness World record for acceleration of an electric car at 2.13 seconds to reach 100km/hour. Then, in July 2014, they won the prestigious Formula Student racing title in Silverstone, England, receiving top honors for both Class 1 overall and Class 1 shell design. In addition, Jama will provide benefits for future FS Team Delft members because the information and insights will remain in the system as a resource for future generations of engineers. With Jama, the knowledge remains a part of FS Team Delft even after the individual students leave the university.
“I’m so honored to be part of this amazing team and we are thrilled to continue to be among the best teams in the world in Formula Student racing,” said de Morée. “It’s been an intense year and we are proud of the car we designed and built to compete in this series. There were countless decisions that went into the DUT 14 and hundreds of people who contributed their expertise. When I look back on the incredible process, I know we couldn’t have done it without Jama.”