A global analysis of solar car performance

The analysis, comparison and interpretation of raw solar car data

The 2021 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Telemetry Challenge was designed to allow for driving, testing and comparison of solar cars in the absence of a physical 2021 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The telemetry challenge allowed registered analysts to engage with submitted solar car data, practicing and experimenting with analysis methods and presentation.

 

The Challenge

Registered analysts compared solar car output data against one another in this friendly data collection experiment.

Participating teams drove their cars across two days and submitted data collected whilst driving and charging at 60 second intervals. There were no restrictions to how many times teams may stop for driver changes.

Day 1: At least 5 hours and at most 9 hours (car could then be recharged using only the car’s solar collector)
Day 2: At least 5 hours and at most 9 hours

Teams collected the following data at 60 second intervals:

  • team identifier
  • timestamp
  • longitude and latitude (decimal degrees)
  • altitude (metres)
  • cumulative distance travelled (metres)
  • cumulative energy from solar collector (joules)
  • cumulative energy from battery (joules)
  • cumulative energy from external sources (joules, measured at the input to the charger).

The submission of following data was optional:

  • battery voltage (volts)
  • battery current (amperes)

During the Telemetry Challenge, all solar cars' submitted data was being played concurrently, and cars were placed on the Stuart Highway, headed North out of Adelaide. Analysts assessed and commented on the data output in real time, comparing the cars.

 

So What Next?

We have developed and demonstrated systems that will enable teams to submit telemetry data in real time, and allow analysts to access that data in real time to generate new ways of visualising the progress of teams during an event, allowing us to better communicate and educate the wider community.

Furthermore, having energy data during the event has allowed a more detailed explanation of solar car performance—we will be able to see whether a team is faster because it has collected more solar energy, or because it has a more efficient car with lower aerodynamic drag. The competition isn’t to be the fastest car, but to be the most efficient.

We welcome ideas about how we can use this data to help teams improve the designs of their solar cars, and help the community engage with a wider audience. We'd love your feedback on the Telemetry Challenge and its potential future uses via email here.

 

Participating Teams

View the registered teams and analysts who participated in the Telemetry Challenge.

 

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