History of the Society of Automotive Engineers

Founded in 1905, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is a professional engineering society dedicated to the enhancement of self-propelled machinery (automobiles, airplanes, helicopters, space vehicles and marine equipment). Playing an active role in the development of international standards and specifications, the SAE also facilitates communication inside the engineering community. SAE strives to improve the education of engineering students by providing opportunities to gain practical engineering experience. As part of this effort, SAE organizes student chapters at universities across the country and hosts annual student engineering competitions.


The University of Florida SAE chapter currently has over 40 active members. While participation is voluntary, no standard course credit is offered. Through this extracurricular involvement, every student engineer on the team has the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and experience in project planning, management, design and manufacturing. Each year we try to improve our facilities and increase our membership. Since our creation in 1989, we have attained a workshop, tools and welders. We now also have CNC machining capabilities, which allow for computer-controlled production of precision components.

SAE Mini Baja Competition

In 1976, SAE organized its first national Mini-Baja competition, hosting a total of 10 schools at the University of South Carolina. Briggs & Stratton was a major sponsor of the event, donating to each team a single 8-hp engine to race with. Presently, in 2002, SAE is hosting three regional competitions, with Briggs still donating a muscular 10-hp engine to the competition. The University of Florida Gator Baja team registered for the East competition in West Virginia that is to be held the first week of May. UF plans to bring back shades of glory reminiscent of a decade ago, when in 1992 they took home the pride of a first- place trophy.

The Mini-Baja East competition is about more than just quick driving over all-terrain. Dynamic events for this year include acceleration, braking, top speed, land maneuverability, water maneuverability (yes, deep water), chain pull suspension (as illustrated on left) and traction stability, and the ever-harrowing four-hour endurance race. Competition does not end on the track; each team must also compete in the static events, which judge a vehicle’s design, safety, and cost. If you are interested in more information on the mini-baja competitions, a plethora of knowledge can be obtained on the SAE homepage .