Los Altos Academy of Engineering

Past Projects and Participation

LAAE logo - Past Projects

Students of the Los Altos Engineering program have been given ample opportunities since 1993 to demonstrate their abilities in a variety of projects and competitions.


Human Powered Airplane - Constructed from 1997 to 2000, the Los Altos Human Powered Airplane was one of the longest projects ever worked on in the history of the Los Altos Academy of Engineering.

Legacy Electric and Solar Vehicles - From Speed Racer in 1992 to Light Speed III in 2002, you can find technical specifications of our completed electric and solar vehicles in this section.

JPL Invention Challenge - Students create projects to complete objectives presented by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, competing against other high schools and JPL employees.

Build Your Dream Vehicle - BYDV requires students to use mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, technology, and design skills to develop and design a futuristic, environmentally-friendly vehicle.

Solar Bikes - For younger students in the LAAE, the Los Altos Solar Bikes project was formed in the late 1990s to compete in the A-class division of Solar BikeRayce USA.

HICE Hydrogen Internal Combustion Vehicle - The goal of this project is to design and construct a vehicle that operates on an ultra-light, hydrogen internal combustion engine.

Infusion Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle - The goal of this project is to design and construct an ultra-light, hydrogen fuel cell, single person vehicle that will travel forty miles in one hour using six liters of compressed hydrogen.

Botball - Students use creativity and imagination to build and program autonomous robots that perform specific tasks, as well as compete against other robots.

Bridge Competition - Students use software to design and then build a bridge out of popsicle sticks. The teams compete to other schools with their final bridges.

Solar Boat - Students design, develop and construct a boat that is powered with solar energy.

Pulse - LAAE created this vehicle in order to challenge themselves with building a student designed and created vehicle.

First Tech Challenge - Students have to build a robot made out of Tetrix pieces, which in turn are made of aluminum, that will have to participate in a variety of challenges.

Mini Urban Challenge - In this competition, students have to use LEGO mindstorm pieces to navigate through a "city," while following traffic laws.


Throughout the years, the Los Altos Academy of Engineering has had a long-standing record of success in many competitions. Below is a complete list of the competitions and events.

Vehicle Races Years Car Notable Achievements
APS Solar and Electric 500 1993 Speed Racer  
Winston Solar Challenge 1995 Cool Runnings  
World Solar Challenge 1996 Solar Shadow I Only American high school team to finish
Winston Solar Challenge 1997 Solar Shadow I  
Solar BikeRayce USA 1998-2000, 2002-2005 Light Speed I, Light Speed II, Light Speed III, Solar Shadow II 1998: Light Speed I sets national speed record in S-class
1999: A-class Champions (Solar Bikes)
2002: Light Speed III sets national speed record in S-class
American Solar Challenge 2001 Solar Shadow II 22 out of 30 (only high school entry)
Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2007-2009 Infusion Only hydrogen vehicle team entry; achieves North American record of 1,038 miles per gallon
Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2008-2010 HICE First hydrogen internal combustion engine to compete at the Shell Eco-marathon


Events Years Placement / Achievements
DaimlerChrysler/Trellis Build Your Dream Vehicle Competition 1996-2006 1996: 1st Place Regional
1997: 1st & 2nd Place Regional
1998: 1st & 2nd Place Regional
1999: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place Regional
2000: 1st & 2nd Place Regional
2000: 2nd Place National
2001: 1st & 2nd Place Regional
2001: 2nd Place National
2002: 1st & 2nd Place Regional
2003: 1st & 2nd Place Regional
2003: 3rd Place National
2004: National Semi-finalists
2005: National Champions

2006: National Champions
Human Powered Airplane (Development) 1997-2000 Flown in July 2001
Botball Competition 2002-2009 2002: 2nd Place Regional
2002: 5th Place National
2005: 1st Place Regional
2005: 3rd Place National
2006: 1st Place Regional
2006: 5th Place National
2008: 5th Place Globally
2009: 1st Place Regional
JPL Invention Challenge 2001-2005 2004: 3rd Place Finals
Infusion Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle 2003-2009 2007: 1st in Hydrogen division at Shell Eco-marathon
2008: 2nd in Hydrogen division at Shell Eco-marathon
2009: Showcased at Shell Eco-marathon
HICE (Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine) Vehicle 2008-2010 2010: Showcased at LAAE Open House
SkillsUSA Competition 2004-2005 2004: California Web Design Award
2005: California Quiz Bowl Champions
Metropolitan Water District Solar Cup Competition 2004-2011 2004: 6th Place out of 27
2005: 6th Place out of 33
2006: 13th Place out of 50
2007: 7th Place out of 41
2008: 5th Place out of 38
2011:15th Place out of 42
Bridge Competition 2008-2009 2008: Competed at University of California, Irvine.
2009: Competed at University of California, Los Angeles.
Conrad "Spirits of Innovation" Competition 2009-2012 2009: Competed as finalist at the Innovation Summit
2011: Competed as semi-finalist
First Tech Challenge 2011-2015 2011: 11 out of 14 in Monrovia Competition
2012: 14 out of 23 in Webb Competition
2013: 1st place alliance at Monrovia Competition
2013: Judge's award at Monrovia Competition
2014: 2nd place alliance at Monrovia Competition
Mini Urban Challenge 2012-2015 2012: 2nd Place California Regional
2013: 2nd Place California Regional
2015: 3rd Place LA Regional MUC Qualifiers
2015: Best in Show award La Regional MUC Qualifiers
Pulse 2012-2013 2013:
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