University of Minnesota wins the EDS award for "Best Use of Aerodynamics in Design"
Aurora II's aerodynamic shape and light-weight design are major contributing factors to the team's standing. The team utilized EDS's (Electronic Data Systems) services to perform Computational Fluid Dynamic(CFD) analysis of Aurora II. This data provided detailed information which was used to refine our design concept. Aurora II is the end result of 10 different vehicle design iterations.
The purpose of the CFD testing is to determine aerodynamic air flow and how it changes with each design iteration. Additional variables were factored into the analysis, such as road surfaces and varying weather conditions. The result is a vehicle that is aerodynamically stable, has low overall drag and is low to the ground, minimizing ground effect.
The assistance was invaluable to us. While we provided EDS with computer data for CFD analysis, we provided the same data to our student robotics expert to ensure the design was manufacturable before we got too far along in the design and development process. This process along with Surfcam saved us a lot of time and potential trouble in the CNC machining of our composite molds. These molds were the end result of EDS's CFD analysis and using Surfcam to make sure Aurora II's body was indeed manufacturable.
The team's attention to detail paid off, which is proven by Aurora II's performance, as well as by the Best Aerodynamic Shape award EDS presented to the team at the beginning of the race.