University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project AURORA-I

Date: December 1, 1992
To: Sunrayce 93, Dr. Gordon Beavers, Dr. Richard Goldstein, Dr. Anne Hopkins, Mr. John Larson, Dr. Virgil Marple, Dr. Pat Starr
From: Scott Grabow
cc: SVP Executive Committee
RE: 12/01/92 Status Update

Overall Project:

Since the last update, the project has obtained several large donations, and obtained needed help from others in the area for doing a large media blitz starting this month, and continuing to the end of Sunrayce 93, and a few other special events occurring here in the Twin Cities.
With this influx of new people into the project, they are starting to help streamline our process for working with the media, and doing our other "different" media presentations.

Around the 10th of November, one of our sponsors started to promote us, as part of their "technical applications are still emerging" promotion of their corporation. This has helped us receive local, and more statewide publicity; in the form of newspapers, and radio.



The Aero/Shell group has built a full scale version of the driver area, and the required underbody tunnel to see how the overall design is looking for control layout, safety, and ergonomics. This should be done by the middle of December.

The templates are being manufactured for the underbody of the car, and the prototype for the structural requirements should be done in 3 weeks. This will allow use to verify the last changes that have not made it into computer models.


The final solar array layout is finished, and the vehicle is looking more familiar to certain people, due to the design requirements. The array system is undergoing testing to verify that the expected power will be obtainable, while the final process for array fabrication is undergoing the last stages of prototype. The overall process is being documented, and this is causing the delays.

Batteries have been selected, and testing will begin after having a meeting with several local battery manufacturers and "experts" in the field.

Forms for the batteries, and solar cells will be submitted with this version of the update to Sunrayce.

A complete analysis of the heat transfer model will be used to verify the selected design, and ensure that materials used will not be in danger of failure due to temperature effects.

Ergonomics/Race Strategy:

The Ergonomics team has finished the driver layout issues, and the roll cage design is being implemented in the previously mentioned full scale cockpit. This is to verify all design criteria, and rule requirements can be satisfied.

The review view system is rather new, and getting a version of the system from the manufacturer is taking some time. But the coverall cost for the system is cheaper than what we have been expecting.

The race strategy group has been getting the final version of the solar portion of the code to agree with available texts that have sample computations. The overall approach being taken to solve this unique control problem is being approached differently than from previous groups, due to the fact that the race conditions, and rule are different than the World Solar Challenge. So we are redefining, our goals to fit these rules more.


Several issues that were recently raised by the Aero/Shell group have made it a priority issue to do changes to the wheel base, and handling characteristics. These have taken most of their time, so work is slow.

The transmission system is being changed due to the fore mentioned wheel base and handling characteristics. It is a low priority issue, due to our motor can handle most of these problems.