Even though we've been pretty quiet lately, the Solar Vehicle Project has been hard at work preparing ourselves for NASC 2010.
As a first order of business this fall, we began recruiting new members for our team. As the Centaurus design cycle took 3 years, most of our team members either have already graduated or plan to graduate this coming Spring. We put on a series of seminars about the project, what we do, its history, and how we do it all. A total of about 100 people showed up for the first couple meetings, which reduced to about 40 interested members.
With our new team members, we quickly set to work teaching them the design process that UMNSVP uses. These first few weeks are both the most difficult and the most valuable for all the team members, both old and new: returning team members get an opportunity to pass on all of the knowledge they have acquired, while new members learn a valuable engineering process that is usually not taught until the last year of college.
The new member training process also included reverse engineering Centaurus. Team members got their first look at a solar car up close, and spent a few weeks learning how the car was designed and constructed; what worked and what didn't. This exercise is one of the reasons UMNSVP is so successful: building upon the successes and failures of previous teams and the passing on of knowledge represents a resource that is surpassed by no other.
December 29, 2008