Firing Up a Futuristic Firetruck

We’re halfway through the SOLIDWORKS xDesign SAE Challenge, where SAE teams are hard at work designing the rescue vehicles of the future. Research is an important part of building these new machines, and we’ve got some inspiration for our design teams (and anyone else who wants to change the world)!

We have asked teams to design either a firetruck, an ambulance, or a firefighting helicopter, along with specific systems for each vehicle. Firetrucks are massive engineering marvels, and suspension is important. The three most common suspension types are leaf spring, rubber block, and air rides. Independent front suspension, normally found on passenger cars and some heavy-duty military vehicles, is also a good choice.

According to, firefighters are mainly concerned with handling, ride comfort, chassis and equipment protection, maintenance, load capacity, and life cycle costs. Per Pierce, in the United States, “60-70% of all major fire trucks are built with a custom chassis that is engineered, designed, and built to meet a fire department’s exact needs.”

In the future, what kind of equipment will a firetruck need? And what kind of suspension will it need to carry everything? How much water will a mounted hose be able to spray per minute? Will firefighters still be using water in the future, or another flame-fighting material?  There are a lot of creative and innovative ways to think about the firetruck of the future. What will your SAE team design?

Not signed up for the SOLIDWORKS xDesign SAE Challenge? Want to check out the other challenges? There’s still time for your team to win $3,000 by designing a futuristic firetruck, ambulance, or helicopter! Learn more at the challenge website.

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman is a Content Marketing Specialist in Brand Offer Marketing for SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE WORKS.