BAJA SAE INDIA is a student level competition that has its roots outside India. BAJA primarily focusses on out-of-classroom-education system, in which engineering students from all over India participate as a team. The goal of each team is to design and build a prototype of a rugged single seat, off-road four-wheel vehicle that has to go through multiple tests and then compete in the endurance race. The event was started originally in the USA by the SAE International and it was known as the MINI BAJA. India saw the launch of the event in January 2007. Since last five years, Mahindra has been the title sponsor for the event. Now, as a student, in order to compete in BAJA, you must be having some questions in mind that will get answered here one by one.
How can I participate in BAJA?
In order to participate in BAJA SAE India, you will have to visit the company's website.You will be required to fill in your details and then you can download the BAJA rulebook that is available at the BAJA SAE forum. You will have to make your team that can consist of 20 to 25 members. You will then be required to make the vehicle known as buggy, that should comply with the rules specified in the rulebook.
What are the different stages one need to clear at BAJA SAE India?
First up is the virtual BAJA. In this, the design of your vehicle is evaluated on a virtual basis which means the design is judged virtually and bits parameters like length, width, roll cage design, etc are examined. It is checked whether the vehicle is upto the dimensions specified or not. After that, a number of other tests follow like acceleration test, safety test and braking test. In acceleration test, the vehicle has to achieve a speed of 35 kmph in a specific distance. The safety test demands that the driver should be able to move out of the vehicle in just five seconds of the crash. This includes pressing the engine kill switch and unbuckling the seat belts as well. In the braking test, the judges make sure that all the four wheels of the buggy get locked up when braking hard. If any of the wheels fail to lock up, the participants have to make changes accordingly and come again. If a team fails in a specific test, they are given two chances to make the updates in the vehicle and come back. Once they clear all these tests, they are required to take part in the final race which is called the endurance race. The race involves driving four hours continuously on a challenging an off-road track.
Anything else that I should keep in mind?
It has to be noted that the total weight of your buggy should not cross 270 kg, including the driver, which the highest limit. There are prizes for the lightest buggy as well at the event and hence, by designing the lightest vehicle, you will be at benefits at both the ends. First, you can take home prizes and second, you will have an edge over the competition as lighter buggy will ensure better performance. Also, there is a prize for the lowest cost vehicle and the team that manages to make the buggy with the lowest amount of money gets awarded at the event. The latest edition of BAJA SAE India saw the lowest cost buggy with Rs 3.39 lakh spent.
How will BAJA SAE India benefit me in terms of career?
Yes, for sure. Besides conducting BAJA, Mahindra also organises campus placements during the event. For this, interested students from the participating teams can go for the written tests and in case they manage to pass it, they have to pass the second written examination. Once they clear the two tests, they will be called for an HR round and if they pass, they go home with a job in hand.
Will there be any benefit to my college as well?
Yes, of course! If students of any college participate in BAJA, it gives the college an opportunity to showcase the buggy at the campus, which in turn attracts more admissions. If a team wins, the college can proudly show this thing in their brochure that will help them with more number of admissions.
Areas of improvements in BAJA SAE India 2018 Leg II
For the first time, BAJA SAE India was organised in two stages and Express Drives was invited to both of them. We had spoken to numerous students during BAJA SAE India 2018 in Indore and Ropar. On asking the best thing about BAJA, most of the students said that the management and the way things have been organised. However, there were few who were slightly disappointed with a couple of things. A few students complained about the accommodation and transportation facilities. Some of them told us that they were promised to be offered stay but the promise was not fulfilled. When we spoke to some more students regarding this, we felt that this must have happened as the teams took a last minute call for the stay and cabs that would ferry them to the event venue. Hence, we advise you to finalise these things on a priority basis so that your slot gets booked first without it gets full.
Quotes from the winners - BAJA SAE India Leg II
"It is a very proud moment for us and our victory is a result of the teamwork that we had. Be it static, design, sales presentation, these areas we conquered with the help of teamwork only. Its a teamwork and complete teamwork and we sweated for 10 months to make it happen. 10 months of sleepless nights and hard work paved the way for this victory. The best thing about BAJA is that how the event has been organized. The way the volunteers were working and helping us out is commendable," says Govt college of technology, Coimbatore that emerged as the winner of BAJA SAE India Leg II held at IIT, Ropar.
"Our experience of BAJA 2018 has been great. For us, the first thing that comes up is the team and the vehicle comes second. That is our main mantra for success. We like the management of the BAJA and we believe this is how it should be done," says Govt college of Engineering, Aurangabad that emerged as the first runner up of BAJA SAE India Leg II held at IIT, Ropar.