Bologna Motorshow

The Firenze Race Team was present at the MotorShow in Bologna from 2 to 10 December. The experience at the fair began on 30 November when our guys left in a van in the direction of Bologna with everything they needed to set up their stand in Hall 16. In addition to us, Hall 16 housed numerous other teams from universities all over Italy. During the week many conferences, meetings and Digital Labs with university professors and companies from the automotive sector were planned for students and those interested in the various topics.

Our university’s professor, Giovanni Ferrara, who teaches at the Department of Industrial Engineering, also gave an open lecture entitled ‘Petrol or Diesel? The future will be hybrid… not just thermal-electric’. The lecture focused on the propulsion of hybrid vehicles with their advantages and a differentiation between hybrid electric-thermal vehicles and hybrid HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition) vehicles, i.e. made by ‘fusing’ the characteristics of the compression ignition engine (typically Diesel) and the spark ignition engine (typically Petrol). In the first part of the conference, there was a contextualisation of what it means to transform chemical energy (fuel) into mechanical energy, the meaning of ‘engine efficiency’ and the difference in efficiency typical of spark-ignition or compression-ignition engines. After this type of analysis, the professor continued on the propulsion of hybrid vehicles, the advantages it has, and the differences between Hybrid Electric-Thermal and Hybrid based precisely on the cooperation between the principles of the petrol engine and the diesel engine. The lecture was very interesting and led to numerous questions from those present to the professor, all of which were prompted by the interest and desire to learn more about these very topical issues.

On the same day, it was fun to participate in Glabradio’s radio broadcast (find the entire live broadcast at this link). The radio host had dedicated a setlist to us Formula Student teams. It was an informal conversation about our experience in Formula SAE, the organisation of the team, our economic resources and our sponsors. There was of course no shortage of questions about design choices and above all, in our case, the discussion centred on the subject of Driverless (experiences, structure of the autonomous car, how a Driverless car is made, questions about the level of foreign teams in this field compared to Italian teams).

On Thursday 7 December, two of our members participated in the Digital Lab Brembo event organised by PoliHub in cooperation with the MotorShow organisation. The activity was a sort of challenge aimed at stimulating creativity and teamwork. After a short presentation by Polihub and Brembo staff and the mission of their respective companies, the students were divided into mixed groups among all the teams present. It was a very stimulating brainstorming work as the students, in groups, had to interact and try to come up with solutions and technical and commercial innovations related to the Brembo company’s business.

In the first part of the day, an activity aimed at gathering information and identifying the problem was carried out, with the help of contact persons and tutors from the companies mentioned above. While, in the second part of the day, an activity of brainstorming and formalisation of the innovative service idea was carried out, with subsequent illustration by the group’s spokesperson. Our colleagues from the Firenze Race Team developed an idea (based on the use of an App) whose objective was to monitor driving style behind the wheel in order to ensure better safety on the roads. Based on the correct driving style, possible customers would get bonus points that could be spent on Brembo products.

Between a lecture and an organised event, the team members were mainly busy with the car exhibition. Numerous visitors during the 10 days approached the Formula SAE cars out of curiosity. Many discussions around the car arose in response to visitors’ questions, curiosities and objections. Just as many contacts were made with companies in the industry, from which we obtained good feedback and possible new collaborations. Finally, there was no shortage of more general questions about the University, our relationship with it, and the educational offerings of our university, which supports our activities.

The experience at the Motorshow was indescribable: confronting visitors and impressing people about the work we do, comparing and collaborating with members of the other Formula SAE teams was vital for creating cohesion and making new friends. Many motorsport personalities also came to visit us, so intrigued by these university projects, for example Michele Pirro and Marco Lucchinelli.

The days have unfortunately flown by and you can already feel the melancholy of that familiar atmosphere at the Motorshow. We would like to thank our university, our professors, all the Italian teams, the MotorShow organisation, Polihub and all the visitors who made this trade fair experience incredible.