Project March, Eco-Runner, Hyperloop and Solar Boat can celebrate. The four projects may continue as official Dream Teams in the Dream Hall with new teams of students. The Dream Hall was closed at the start of the corona crisis and TU Delft has used this time to redefine the policy to determine who may return under what conditions. The teams submitted their plans for the future at the end of January, and this week a committee took the final decision.
New teams had to meet all sorts of criteria, but the determining factor was the degree of innovation, says Joost Ravoo, Chair of the Dream Hall Steering Group. “That was what made the difference.”
In with a chance
Six teams were left in the race and four of them were admitted. One of these, Project March, is working on an exoskeleton for people with paraplegia. The Team Manager, Francesca Kessler, was delighted when she heard the news that her team was assured of a place in the Dream Hall for the next four years. “We realised quite quickly that we were in with a chance, but we still did our very best and are thrilled that we can go back to the Dream Hall,” she says.
Project March was one of the few teams in the old Dream Hall that did not work under the theme mobility. This worked out well as the Steering Group was keen to have greater variety on societal themes. Kessler and her teammates kept a close eye on developments over the last few months. “We did not commit to reapplying at first, and kept checking the vision of the Steering Group. It turned out that it matched ours.”
‘Leaving the Dream Hall does not mean leaving TU Delft’
So the students submitted a plan that concentrated on dynamic walking and making the exoskeleton more user friendly. “We had plans such as working with brain computer interfaces and looking into attaching an EEC into the exoskeleton. These will be huge challenges.”
The teams that did not get through to this round also face huge challenges. Formula Student’s and Nova Electric Racing’s plans were not deemed innovative enough. “We looked at both what the Teams had done so far, and what was happening on the market,” explains Ravoo.
Formula Student is planning to continue its work and will even present its design on Friday 12 February. “We have won so many prizes in 20 years, and achieved so much. We were number one in the world several times. It is a pity that the Dream Hall does not see a future in us, but we are fanatical and will continue our work,” says Team Manager Jasper Hagesteijn.
He and his teammates were prepared for not getting through, but say that they have a different interpretation of the word ‘innovative’. “It is a wide definition. Our plan incorporated a complete change to self-driving racing cars. Giving students the opportunity to gain practical experience is really new in our eyes.”
‘We were doubting whether we should try or not’
Formula Student accepts that the Dream Hall organisation sees this differently. The Team had already set up an office in the Schiehallen when the Dream Hall closed and it is planning to stay there. Hagesteijn hopes to retain the Team’s links to TU Delft. “We received financial support from different faculties – 3mE, EEMCS, IDE, TPM – and we hope that this will continue in the future. Leaving the Dream Hall does not mean leaving TU Delft.”
Nova Electric Racing is less certain about what the future will bring. Team Manager Kane IJdo and his colleagues will start thinking about their future on Monday, and will decide whether to continue or stop. Either way, the students are doing everything they can to build a new racing motorbike this year. First, though, they have to deal with the disappointment. “It is a blow and it is not nice,” says IJdo, “even if we did see that our objective may not fit in the new mandate. We were doubting whether we should try or not and in the end decided to try so that we would know for certain.”
Does he agree with the assessment that Nova Electric Racing is not innovative enough? “Yes and no. I really do believe that there is still room for development in electric propulsion, but our innovations on electric propulsion were not as innovative as changing to hydrogen propulsion.”
In terms of hydrogen as the source of energy, the Steering Group believes in the innovative capacity of the Eco-Runner and Solar Boat Dream Teams. Both are being given three years in the Dream Hall to turn their plans into reality. The Hyperloop is being given two years to come up with a wider mobility concept that goes beyond what is currently being thought about on the market.
- As of the next academic year, the new Dream Hall will have space for seven teams.
- A set number of teams may also locate outside the Dream Hall.
- In addition, there is room in the hall for short-term projects originating from research and education.
- In the first round, only the current teams were allowed to compete for the status of Dream Team.
- There will be a round in March in which new teams may compete alongside the current Teams.
- You can find more information on the Dreamhall website (in Dutch).