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SAE University Programs 2024 Competition Season Revs Up

Posted: September 11, 2023

At SAE International, we strive to advance safe and clean mobility solutions for the betterment of humanity.

Are you up for the challenge?

SAE’s University Programs provides un-paralleled pre-professional education experiences to college students across the world. With eight competition styles available, participants get the opportunity to develop soft skills, foster teamwork, expand critical thinking, and address specific needs of the mobility industry.

These programs have paved the way for countless young professionals as they entered the workforce through industry connections and valuable technical skill development that goes beyond the classroom.

"The biggest thing is definitely learning how to use professional grade tools and really learning how to do engineering design. It's something that you don't get to see a lot in our classes, so it's really good to apply the theory that we're learning and have it come together to create a really cool product,” Alec Dempsey, Penn Electric Racing of the University of Pennsylvania said.

In addition to applying concepts learned in the classroom to real-world applications, students get to network and learn from industry experts throughout the competition season. These industry professionals volunteer their time and travel from around the world to share their professional experiences with students, guide them on best practices, and serve as judges for the competition.

SAE invites all undergraduate and graduate students to participate in one of our University Programs. Registration for the 2024 competition season opens the week of September 18th. Until then, check out SAE’s collegiate programs, student testimonials, and upcoming competitions dates below.


SAE Aero Design

The SAE Aero Design competition is a real‐world design challenge designed to compress a typical aircraft development program into one calendar year, taking participants through the system engineering process of breaking down requirements. It exposes participants to the nuances of conceptual design, manufacturing, system integration/test, and sell‐off through demonstration.

2024 Competitions:

  • SAE Aero Design East – March 8-10, 2024
  • SAE Aero Design West – April 12-14, 2024



AutoDrive Challenge II™

This competition continues the strong partnership between General Motors and SAE International in STEM education and will build on the ground-breaking success of the original four-year series, AutoDrive Challenge™. Our second series aims to have participating university teams develop and demonstrate an autonomous vehicle (AV) that can navigate urban driving courses as described by SAE Standard (J3016™) Level 4 automation.

"AutoDrive has been a key factor in my future career, starting from a resume building standpoint. Having leadership experience is really critical. I know a lot of companies look for that, not just in technical skill, but they want to see that you can handle yourself in a professional environment and AutoDrive definitely allows for that kind of experience,” said David Wan, Penn State University.

2024 Competition:

  • AutoDrive Challenge™ II Year 3 – June 2-8, 2024


Baja SAE

In Baja SAE, engineering students are tasked with designing and building a single-seat, all-terrain sporting vehicle that is to be a prototype for a reliable, maintainable, ergonomic, and economic production vehicle that serves a recreational user market. The students must function as a team to design, engineer, build, test, promote, and compete with a vehicle within the limits of the rules.

2024 Competitions:

  • Baja SAE California – April 25-28, 2024
  • Baja SAE Williamsport – May 16-19, 2024
  • Baja SAE Michigan – September 12-15, 2024



SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge

The SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge provides participants with the opportunity to enhance their engineering design and project management skills by re-engineering an existing snowmobile to reduce emissions and noise. Participants’ modified snowmobiles compete in a variety of events, including emissions, noise, fuel economy/endurance, acceleration, handling, static display, cold start, and design.

2024 Competition:

  • SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge – March 7-9, 2024



Formula SAE®

The Formula SAE® series competitions challenge teams of university undergraduate and graduate students to conceive, design, fabricate, develop, and compete with small, formula-style vehicles. The competitions give teams the chance to demonstrate and prove both their creativity and engineering skills in comparison to teams from other universities around the world.

“Formula SAE was really the first opportunity I had to take what I was learning in the classroom and put it into practice and see what engineering was really about. Engineering is taking the theory and making something practical with it,” said Aaron Snyder, Temple University.

2024 Competition:

  • Formula SAE Michigan – May 8-11, 2024*


Formula SAE® Electric

Introduced in 2013, Formula SAE® Electric allows the development of fully electric vehicles within the FSAE® framework. Teams use vehicles powered only by electrical motors and compete in static and dynamic events such as design, presentation, cost, acceleration, skidpad, autocross, endurance, and efficiency.

“The competition is my favorite part. It's the culmination of all our hard work from the past year and years prior, and there's nothing more rewarding than seeing your car on the track,” said Hannah Zolock, Cornell Racing of Cornell University.

2024 Competition:

  • Formula SAE Electric – June 12-15, 2024*


Formula Hybrid

Formula Hybrid Competition is an interdisciplinary design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate university students. They must collaboratively design and build a formula-style electric or plug-in hybrid racecar and compete in a series of events. This educational competition emphasizes drivetrain innovation and fuel efficiency in a high-performance application.

2024 Competition:

  • Formula Hybrid – April 29-May 2, 2024


Mission Autono

Our latest challenge, Mission Autono, is part of the Emerging Technology Portfolio, which expands the STEM workforce pipeline by radically investing in diverse participants as they solve new mobility challenges. The Mission Autono program enables participants to develop software seeking SAE J3016 – Level 3 status through a one-year enhanced learning opportunity. This program is still in the early development stages and will serve as part of University Programs second Talent Incubator program, similar to the AutoDrive Challenge.

SAE’s pre-professional programs are preparing students across the globe for their future careers. Learn more about our University Programs and get involved if you aren’t already.

And save the date for 2024 competition registration, starting September 18th.

*Competition Date is Tentative