Formula Hybrid drives creative competition with secure file sharing from Intralinks.
Developed by the faculty and staff at Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering, Formula Hybrid builds on Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) while focusing competition on hybrid and electric automotive technology. The program started in 2003 with the first official competition held in 2006.
Every year since 2006, hundreds of students, many from international colleges and universities, compete in Formula Hybrid. The event has become a source of engineering talent for global sponsors including GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Toyota, LG Chem and IEEE.
The program develops students’ skills in interdisciplinary design, development and project management. Students collaborate across engineering practices to construct fuel-efficient, high-performance hybrid cars. Formula Hybrid gives students the chance to apply what they learn in the classroom to realworld challenges.
The 2015 Competition
As Formula Hybrid expanded into a truly international competition, sharing content with global participants became a critical challenge. The judges needed a secure way to share rules with teams, and teams needed officials to approve designs. Additionally, sponsors of the event required an efficient means of obtaining participant resumes for recruiting. With up to 35 teams participating and seven sponsors seeking resumes, collaboration became a challenge.
“As a design competition for engineering students, we needed an easy way to share information with teams and sponsors without risking the security of the information,” said Doug Fraser, the founder and director of Formula Hybrid.
For example, the Formula Hybrid platinum sponsors collaborated on a letter of support to deans of the top 200 engineering schools of North America. Because they wanted to work collectively with sponsors on the letter, they needed a document collaboration solution.
That year, Formula Hybrid adopted an Intralinks solution to replace its existing collaboration tool. Previously, lack of control hampered the collaboration process. Once the Intralinks solution was implemented, Formula Hybrid management could arrange documents in secure Workspaces, each with its own expiration date, file organization and permissioning controls. Content access could be granted or revoked – even after downloading – with Intralinks Information Rights Management (IRM). Students could easily share their resumes securely with sponsors recruiting at the event.
Intralinks enabled document version control and document editing, facilitating the collaboration process. With Intralinks, sponsors, university teams and volunteers alike securely shared and kept track of changes to critical information pertaining to the competition. “With more than 200 universities as potential entries, having a secure way to collaborate was critical,” Fraser said. “Intralinks is safe and easy to use, and was ready to use immediately.”
The 2016 Competition
The tenth competition in 2016 opened on a cold and rainy Sunday as several teams arrived early to participate in the Preliminary Electrical Tech Inspection session in order to get a jumpstart on qualifying their cars for the track. “Electrical Tech Inspection is the most rigorous part of the event,” said Rob Wills, Chief Electrical Tech Inspector. “If a team is unable to pass both the safety and functional aspects of the rules, the car will not be allowed on the course. The ability to accurately track the status of each team as it progresses through Electrical Tech and to share the status with team members and advisors is essential.”
During the 2016 competition, Formula Hybrid used Intralinks to provide real-time status updates and feedback from the Electrical Tech Inspection team. Inspectors were able to update status and open items for each stage of inspection, using Intralinks Microsoft® Office Online. In prior years, each team’s status was kept on paper copies in a file folder in the Electrical Tech Inspection area. The team was responsible for keeping track of its progress and for noting the inspectors’ comments that would help team members address any deficiencies. In 2016, the inspectors and teams used Intralinks to enable easy access to team data from anywhere on the race course. Each student team was assigned a Workspace folder with private, read-only access for each team and read/write access for inspectors and Formula Hybrid management. Students could easily access their inspection reports on mobile devices with the Intralinks app. For the inspectors, Intralinks’ Desktop Sync enabled real-time updates to the summary sheets.
Students could address inspectors’ questions and comments on their vehicles more efficiently through easy access to the summary sheet and notes. This reduced the trips to inspection, getting teams to the track faster. The technical inspectors saved time normally spent searching for paper sheets, and they could easily pick up for one another as teams came through the inspection garage.
“Intralinks fits perfectly with the fast-paced engineering competition of Formula Hybrid.”
–Doug Fraser Founder and Director Formula Hybrid