EDS Technology Supports Sunrayce Teams

Detroit, Mi--University of Minnesota engineering students who are members of the school's 1993 Sunrayce team have received high-tech supercomputing and engineering support from EDS, the premier provider of information technology services. The students will be representing Minneaots in a biennial intercollegiate competition for solar-powered cars The 1,000-mile solar car race, taking place June 20-26, 1993, from Dallas to Minneapolis.
EDS Super Computer Team members from the Advanced Engineering Technology Staf, at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, assisted the Minnesota team by providing aerodynamic analysis for their Sunrayce vehicle. EDS engineers consulted with the students in defining an approach to their solar car design. The students then provided the design data, in digital format, to the Super Computing Team through the International Network (INTERNET). Aerodynamic and structural analysis was fed into a Super Computer and interpreted by the EDS team using a computer program which simulated a wind tunnel. The results were then returned to the students via INTERNET. Students received a telephone conference with the EDS engineers to interpret their findings.

"Many of the universities do not have the capabilities to run computer simulated tests on their models," explains Patrick Cavanaugh, EDS Sunrayce project coordinator, Advanced Engineering Technology Staff. "By providing this service, we are creating a level playing field, thus narrowing the gap between the schools and making for a more competitive race."

"We've been looking at some of the pictures and data that's been produced here(the GM Tech Center) and camparing them to some of the things we've been looking at back at school," says University of Minnesota Sunrayce team member, Scott Grabow. "The numbers as well as the tests match-up almost one-to-one."

"Thanks to the analysis provided by EDS, we've been able to come up with suggestions for changing some of the design and have also been able to solidify some stuff that we guessed right," add Grabow. "Things are working together well."

The mechanical engineering major also added he wanted to be able to take some of my ideas from design and put them into a computer.

In addition to directly supporting the student teams, EDS has designed a computerized scoring system for the race. The EDS Sunrayce Scoring Information System (SSIS), will provide the following for the timing and scoring of Sunrayce '93:

An official elapsed time for each school
A printed report showing the name of each school, official elapsed time, daily penalties, elapsed penalties, daily standings and event standings. This report will be printed off each half hour after the first vehicle crosses the finish line each day.
A starting position posting with the schools name and start time each morning.
A large clock at the start and finish line displaying the offical time.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is the main sponsor of Sunrayce 93, a biennial intercollegiate competition for solar-powered cars. The educational theme of this year's event, "Education, Energy, and the Environment," is designed to challenge science, mathematics and engineering students throughout North America and foster scientific innovation and creativity. The race will cut through America's heartland, starting in Dallas, Texas and finishing just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The seven-day race will cover approximately 1,000-miles, with an average daily distance of 143 miles. Vehicles race during daylight hours from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will gather at a common meeting point each night. The winner will be determined from the car which finishes the official course in the lowest cumulative elapsed time.

The 36-team Sunrayce field was chosen from more than 68 applicants. They were selected based on proposals made to a team of experts fro each major sponsor.

The proposal requirements were judged according to the following: project organization, fundraising and budgeting, design and engineering, component development/selection, vehicle testing and driver training, race logistics and team qualifications.

Each car must also meet certain safety requirements, such as seat belts, a horn, turn indicators, brake lights and rear vision systems. In addition, sunlight or solar radiation must be the only source of power. Only commerically available solar cells and lead-acid batteries may be used.

Each qualifying team received $2,000 from both the DOE and Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) as seed money for their cars.

"By assisting the universities, EDS hopes to expand our body of knowledge on the use of solar power," said Cavanaugh. "As more information becomes available about energy efficient vehicles, GM and other companies will be better able to meet the needss of tomorrow's environmental requirements."

EDS' involvement in Sunrayce 93 stems from the company's belief that in order to maintain a competitive edge in the information services industry, it must attract and retain the best and brightest young engineers and scientists. "EDS has a long-standing commitment to education and puts an enormous amount of energy and resources into training our systems engineers and analysts," Cavanaugh said "This competition affords students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to their field of expertise."

DOE designated the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the nation's lead laboratory for renewable energy research, to manage Sunrayce 93. Besides EDS, co-sponsors include the, General Motors Corporation, Chevrolet, Midwest Research Institute(MRI), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the EPA.