WSC 2015 Summary pt 1: Race Preparation

The team arrived in Adelaide in late September, and stayed at a Windsor Gardens Caravan Park. Like many caravan parks, it had many amenities like lodging, parking, laundry, and a small convenience store. But, the managers went above and beyond to provide us with anything that we needed. Before departing the US, we had spent a couple of weeks looking for a workspace that was within our budget. There was no success, and we continued searching after arriving. When the managers learned about this, they offered up their personal garage (called a “car port” in Australia). They let us use it and the adjacent parking lot (“car park”) to build up a wooden enclosure for our trailer. At that time, we were still waiting for the car to arrive and clear customs, so there was time to paint it maroon and gold with an silhouette outline of the car.

The wooden trailer enclosure with Eos painted on it
The trailer enclosure with Eos painted on it

After a few days of delays with shipping and customs, we were able to pick up the car and re-assemble it. The managers at Windsor Gardens let us continue using their garage as a workspace for the car. We were missing some supplies, so we had to wait for the next wave of the race crew to arrive. Once we got the car driving, we were allowed to use the roads of the caravan park to test drive and make sure everything still worked. We spent hours circling around, and many of the residents set up lawn chairs to watch the car drive by. Once we were confident in the car’s abilities, we packed up and headed north to the Outback.

Scenery in the Outback
Scenery in the Outback

Unlike the US, in Australia, there are limitations on when and where solar cars can drive on public roads. In the territory of South Australia, we had to register for a temporary permit. This permit was valid for a few days and the stretch of road was approximately 6 hours away from Adelaide. We reached the point where we could drive, unloaded the car, and hit the road. This stretch of road is part of the race route. This was great for simulating the environment that we will be racing in. We can’t do that in Minnesota, so this helped with finding new bugs that we don’t want to discover while on the race. One specific thing we encountered was that our motor controllers were heating up too much. We were able to remedy this before the race even started.

Eos at a caravan park in Glendambo, SA
Eos at a caravan park in Glendambo, SA

We then headed to Darwin to check-in at the pit garages at the Hidden Valley Race Track. The very next day, the Northern Territory Motor Vehicle Registry came and inspected the car. After deeming the car to be road-safe, they issued a temporary permit and we were able to continue test driving on the Cox Peninsula Road. Over the next three days, the team got 35 hours of test drives in. That was nearly 100% utilization of every hour of sunlight available to us. During that entire time, the car performed well and we had no major breakdowns. The permit expired the day before the track opened, so the next step was track testing. The team put in a lot of hard work and signed up for several time slots every day. Things continued to go well and we started increasing speed, maxing out at 110 kph (68 mph).

Eos at the track
Eos at the track

At the same time, we were working on preparing the car and the caravan for static scrutineering. Scrutineering is when the officials inspect the cars and make sure they follow the race regulations and are also safe to go out on the road. We had to go back a second time, but it was nothing major. We had to replace the rear view camera with a wider angle one to meet vision requirements, and we had forgotten to get our array signed off by a licensed professional. Those were easily fixed and we got greens on everything.

All green on the second try
All green on the second try

The next step in qualifying was dynamic scrutineering and the hot lap to get the starting lineup. Dynamic scrutineering consisted of braking and stability tests. The stability test mimicked conditions that would be seen while changing lanes on a road while driving. We did well on this and then passed the brake test with flying colors. The car stopped in half the maximum distance. The officials had to do a double take to make sure we were going fast enough when starting the brake test.

During the hot lap, we got a time of 2:17, and started at position 19 out of 42 (5th in the cruiser class).

Our next post will give an update of what happened on the race.

Meet the Race Crew

The first wave of the race crew arrive in Adelaide a couple of days ago. There are representatives from our aerodynamics team, electrical team, and mechanical team. We are be getting ready to head across the Outback soon. We are going all the way up to Darwin for start of the World Solar Challenge. Below you’ll find all the members of our race crew and some information about each of them. We are all excited to start this race. Stay tuned for updates.

Alex Anderson
Alex Anderson
Role: Electrical team
Member Since: Fall 2014
Year in school: 4th year EE
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? Lots of Programming, Embedded software, Python etc… Altium, general EE knowledge.
What have you been working on? Dashboard, Telemetry

Alex Knoll
Alex Knoll
Role: Electrical team
Member Since:January 2015
Year in school: 5th year EE/Physics
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? I think I have learned what it means to be truly “dedicated” to something. The team is completely extra-curricular, yet I am amazed by the amount of time and work people on this team are willing to invest in the project.
Why did you join the team? I joined the Solar Vehicle Project because I wanted to be a part of the solution to climate change. I recognize the urgency behind moving our transportation system away from fossil fuels and I wanted to do whatever I could to help demonstrate that a carbon-free transportation future is viable.

Chris Torres
Chris Torres
Role: Mechanical team
Member Since: January 2014
Year in school: 4th year mechanical engineering
Why did you join the team? To get hands-on experience to supplement my ME degree, to be relevant in the renewable energy conversation, and to be able to take an engineering project from concept to finished product.
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? I learned how to design a part so that it is manufacturable, how to correctly create and label an engineering drawing, and how to make a welding diagram, as well as limited ANSYS experience and extensive CREO/ProE experience.

Untitled
Chris Yamaguchi
Name: Chris Yamaguchi
Role: Aerodynamics team, driver
Member Since: September 2014
Year in school: Senior in AEM
What have you been working on? I designed the array normalization system and am working on a design for the next car’s shell.
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? CAD experience, project experience, and I learned how to park a trailer.

Erik Johnson
Erik Johnson
Role: Aerodynamics team, driver
Member Since: October 2013
Year in school: Recent aerodynamics alumnus
What have you been working on? Composite work and analysis and fairings
What are you looking forward to on the race? Seeing other peoples strategies and cars as well as visit Australia.

Garrett Peloquin
Garrett Peloquin
Role: Aerodynamics team
Member Since:
Year in school: Undeclared sophomore
Why did you join the team? To be apart of an engineering project and experience real life application of the engineering field.
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? I learned to work with people from several different fields of expertise and how to work in a large group project.

Jake Herbers
Jake Herbers
Role: Mechanical team, lead navigator
Member Since: September 2012
Year in school: Recent mechanical alumnus
What have you been working on? I designed and built the structural chassis for Eos.
What is something else interesting about you? I overcame 2 collapsed lungs to make it to Australia for the 2013 World Solar Challenge.

John Theisen
John Theisen
Role: Mechanical team
Member Since: September 2013
Year in school: Senior mechanical engineering
What are you looking forward to on the race? I am greatly anticipating the sense of adventure that can only accompany the soul crushing solitude of a competitive team event under immaculate star lit nights.
Anything else? Go gophers!

Kory Soukup
Kory Soukup
Role: Aerodynamics team, driver
Member Since: November 2013
Year in school: Junior in aerospace engineering
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? I have learned that what happens in theory does not always happen in reality. When designing a system, not only is its functionality important but so too is its ability to be manufactured and assembled.
Why did you join the team? I joined the Solar Vehicle Project because I am interested in renewable energies and I wanted to gain some hands-on engineering experience.

Levi Wolterstorff
Levi Wolterstorff
Role: Mechanical team co-lead, driver
Member Since: February 2015
Year in school: Junior, Mechanical Engineering
Why did you join the team? To gain valuable experience in real world engineering, boost my resume, get involved on campus, meet and get to know my peers, travel and compete.
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? Besides learning how to apply the knowledge I have gained in class, I have learned a great deal about what it takes to complete a project of this size. I learned the level of teamwork and dedication it takes from a large number of people to make building a car from scratch.
What are you looking forward to on the race? The stars.

Mitchell Rogalsky
Mitchell Rogalsky
Role: Electrical team co-lead
Member Since: September 2012
Year in school: 4th year EE
Why did you join the team? To learn about renewable energy and gain valuable engineering experience.
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? How to manage multiple systems into a whole.

Nick Sloan
Nick Sloan
Role: Aerodynamics team, Duct wrangler
Member Since: November 2013
Year in school: Senior aero
Why did you join the team? To learn what engineering was like outside the classroom.
What are you looking forward to on the race? Meeting people from around the world and discovering what vegemite tastes like.

Paul Kohlmeyer
Paul Kohlmeyer
Role: Electrical team
Member Since: September 2014
Year in school: 4th year junior EE
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? I have learned a lot about the engineering design process, as well as practical electrical related skills.
What are you looking forward to on the race? I am looking forward to seeing our car drive, as well as checking out Australia.

Rob Belau
Rob Belau
Role: Mechanical team
Member Since:January 2015
Year in school: Senior Math, Physics, and MechE
Why did you join the team? Gain hands-on engineering experience outside the classroom
What are you looking forward to on the race? How we place, working alongside fellow members as well as getting to know other teams from around the world.

Spencer Berglund
Spencer Berglund
Role: Electrical team co-lead, Strategy team
Member Since: 2013
Year in school: Junior in Computer Engineering
Why did you join the team? I always need some fun engineering project to work on. In the past, I’ve facilitated this need through Science Fair Projects and FIRST Robotics, now I have the Solar Vehicle Project.
What have you been working on? I’ve been mostly working on the Battery Protection and Monitoring System. I plan to improve it further for the next car, and also introduce some more functionality to the car’s nervous system (more sensors) to improve our race and design strategy.

Steph Wilson
Steph Wilson
Role: Project co-lead, Electrical team
Member Since: October 2011
Year in school: 4th year Electrical engineering
What is something valuable you have learned by being on the team? I have gained a lot of hands on experience with things I would have never gotten the change to do in class. I’ve also learned quite a bit about managing finances.

Eos Unveiled and Shipped

If you missed unveiling last month, You can check out the pictures below and on our flickr here.

The team poses with Goldy in front of Eos.
The team poses with Goldy in front of Eos.
Eos is the team's first car with side doors
Eos is the team’s first car with side doors.
Thank you to all of our sponsors
Thank you to all of our sponsors

The team dropped of Eos at the shipping yard a couple of weeks ago. The car is now on it’s way to Adelaide in preparation for the World Solar Challenge. The team is one of 12 cruiser class vehicles, and 1 of 7  teams from the US signed up for this year’s race. We are still the first and only US team to compete in cruiser class.

Team members fly to the land down under starting next week. Check back for updates as we prepare and compete in the race.

 

Eos Unveiling

The team has put in a lot of work over the last couple of months to get Eos ready. We will be unveiling it to the public on Tuesday August 18th at 11 am. This will be the public’s final opportunity to see the car before it ships to Australia for the World Solar Challenge.

Parking is available in the Gortner Ave ramp.

11864812_928159420563461_2447498467512071650_o

 

Posted in Eos