CS/EE/ME 75, 2015-16 - Project Organization

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CS/EE/ME 75 Organization Schedule Team wiki Public site

This page describes the organization of the Formula SAE Electric, as reflected through CS/EE/ME 75. This page is in draft form, pending discussion with the IPT.

Project Mission Statement

The mission of the Caltech Formula SAE Electric team is to:

  • Gain hands-on engineering experience by designing and building energy efficient race vehicles
  • Apply engineering concepts and better understand the mechanical, electrical and controls aspects of EV technology
  • Develop innovative engineering solutions
  • Assess costs and benefits to different power systems for vehicles
  • Compete in and win SAE Formula Electric competition
  • Engage the community

Engineering Team Principles

  • Safety is our main priority. If you don't know how to do something, find someone who does to help/teach you.
  • Communication is key to our success.
  • Nothing is impossible

Engineering Team Structure (Winter 2016)


Engineering Team Structure (Fall 2015)

Design Divisions

Integrated Product Team (IPT)

Project Lead Engineer: RA
Technical Lead Engineer: JH

Instr: Guillaume Blanquart
TA: Joseph Bowkett
Division lead: ES


  • 15-35 Caltech ug
  • 2-4 Art Center ug/gr
  • 2-4 advisors


  • Chassis and body
  • Suspension
  • Drivetrain
  • Driver interface



Instr: Azita Emami
TA: Cibele Halasz
Division lead: SN


  • 10-25 Caltech ug
  • 0-2 Art Center ug/gr
  • 2-4 advisors


  • Power system
  • Sensors/instruments
  • Control HW/SW
  • Communications



Instr: Richard Murray
TA: Noah Olsman
Division rep: AK


  • 10-15 Caltech ug
  • 2-4 Art Center ug/gr
  • 2-4 advisors


  • Systems modeling
  • Safety procedures
  • Test procedures
  • Computing systems



Lead: Neil Fromer
TA: Shenghan Yao
Division lead: ML


  • 15-25 Caltech ug
  • 5-8 Art Center ug/gr
  • 2-4 advisors


  • Fund raising
  • Communications
  • Facilities/equipment
  • Outreach/events

Division and system descriptions

The work in the project is broken up into a number of systems, each the responsibility of a one of the three design divisions. The descriptions below, broken up by division, give a brief summary of the functions required of each subsystem.

Integrated Product Team

The integrated product team (IPT) consists of representative from each of the engineering divisions as well as the support division. The IPT is responsible for overall design coordination, including maintaining system-level cost, energy and thermal budgets. Conflicts between subsystems will be discussed and resolved through the IPT, in coordination with the relevant subsystems and/or divisions.


The mechanical division is responsible for the vehicle frame, suspension and drivetrain, including the driver interface (pedals, steering wheel). The division is broken into four groups:

Chassis The Chassis group will be responsible for the design an prototyping of the car frame upon which all other components are mounted, suspension that meets rules criteria while maximizing performance and the motor mounts. Experience with CAD software would be beneficial; the group will need to work closely with other components teams to ensure all components fit into the frame and that weight is distributed suitably.

Body Shell This group will be involved in the development of the body panels that will provide aerodynamic streamlining of the vehicle and waterproofing for the rain test. It will also include investigating the potential benefits of including aerofoils in the design, as well as design of the controller and battery boxes that will be mounted onto the frame and the firewall that shields the driver from catastrophic failure.

Drivetrain The motor and controllers designed by the energetics division will be interfaced with the wheels via a direct drive linkage that will be designed by the Drivetrain group. They will also be responsible for selection of the wheels and tires used in the vehicle, as well as for the design of the braking and cooling systems.

Driver Interface This group will be responsible for developing the controls that will allow the driver to interface with the vehicle, including the pedal system, steering column and readout displays for information such as speed and battery levels. The drivers seat and how it mounts to the frame will also be their responsibility.


The energetics division is responsible for all electrical and control systems within and outside the vehicle. This includes all hardware, firmware, and software that runs on the vehicle or is used for remote monitoring, as well as all power systems. The division is broken into four groups:

Power The power group handles everything related to storage and distribution of power, such as batteries and power circuitry. Familiarity with electrical and power systems is necessary for everybody in the team, and some programming will be useful when working on the system's controllers.

Hardware The hardware group is responsible for designing and implementing all embedded hardware systems, such as the core and module boards. Familiarity with electrical circuits and embedded hardware is important within the team, and an understanding of firmware is beneficial.

Firmware The firmware group designs and writes the firmware running on the core and module boards, and any other hardware devices; this includes RTOS extensions, drivers, etc. Group members should be familiar with low-level software constructs and design, and understand how to interface with hardware.

Software The software group is responsible for higher-level software running on the core and module boards, and the ground control station; this includes embedded applications, controls systems, monitoring systems, communication libraries, etc. Group members should be familiar with higher-level software constructs and design.


The operations division is responsible for technical aspects of optimizing the vehicle and organizing the group. The division is broken into four groups:

Systems Modeling The system modeling group is responsible for learning and implementing various CADD and simulation software. Structural, aerodynamic, thermal, and other simulations will need to be done on several designs, along with some other specific simulations (suspension, etc.).

Safety Procedures The safety group determines what protocols the rest of the class uses when working on the vehicle, especially when high voltage is involved.

Test Procedures The test procedures group determines the final requirements for each component and how each component will be tested after it is built.

Computing Systems The computing systems group is responsible for maintaining project computing resources, including mailing lists, wikis and shared project documents.


The support division is responsible for managing funding, public relations and events within the Caltech community and otherwise, and any facilities and equipment being used by the team. The division is broken into four groups:

Fund Raising The fund raising group is responsible for managing the team’s budget and finding funding sources to ensure there is sufficient money to fulfill that budget. This may include, but is not limited to, writing grant proposals and organizing meetings with potential sponsors.

Communications The communications group is responsible for maintaining relationships with people and organizations outside of the team which make beneficial contributions to the team.

Facilities/Equipment The facilities and equipment group is responsible for ensuring all working spaces and equipment used by the team continue to be available to the team and are in satisfactory condition.

Outreach/Events The outreach and events group is responsible for creating new relationships with people and organizations outside of the team which make beneficial contributions to the team, including finding events to participate in and organizing public events of our own.