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The solar car driving in the Australian outback (Race 2017)
20/05/2019

Three things you didn’t know about the world’s largest solar car race

As an Innovation Partner, delaware is proud to support the Agoria Solar Team, a Belgian team consisting of 19 engineering students from KU Leuven. Together with teams from 24 countries, they will compete in the biennial world championship for solar cars: the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. 

Even though the World Solar Challenge does ring a bell with most people, not much is known about the – sometimes surprising – details that make the race such a one-of-a-kind event. Below you'll find three things you probably didn’t know about the World Solar Challenge.

Infographic: Three things you didn’t know about the world’s largest solar car race

1. The route traverses the entire Australian mainland from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south, which is exactly 3.021 km! By plane, it would take approximately 3 hours and 35 minutes, while on foot you’d need about 600 hours – a little under a month. Fortunately for the participants, they will drive a fully equipped solar car. From the 13th  to the 20th of October, they will cut right through Australia’s Red Center, without a doubt the most beautiful scenic highway, where you can drive for miles without seeing another soul. 

2. The whole Agoria Solar Team will travel “down under”, including a professional race pilot. While it’s true the solar car won’t come across many other regular drivers on the road during certain parts of the race, there’s no need to feel lonely. You see, the solar car isn’t the only car that drives the race – a complete convoy of team vehicles will be in front of and behind the car. Every car carries out its own task:

a. the “Brains”: the car that drives directly behind the solar car. It monitors the sensors and energy consumption of the car.
b. the “Guide”: the car in front of the Solar Car, which leads the way and guides the pilot.
c. the “Spy”: the car that tries to listen in on other teams’ communication frequency to discover how fast they are going or which strategy they use.

3. Did you know that there’s also a very specific set of rules all solar cars must comply with? For example, if a race pilot weighs less than 80 kg, extra ballast will be added to make up the difference. On top of that, the eyes of all occupants must be more than 70 cm above the ground. And even though it’s a race, traffic rules do apply to all competitors as they share the road with other drivers. The roads are still open to regular traffic during this race, so no speeding allowed! 

delaware’s AI platform will hopefully give the Agoria Solar Team an edge on the competition and – who knows – help them to finish first. Curious to see how the team prepares for the race? Make sure to follow them on LinkedIn for more updates and fun behind-the-scenes content. And while you’re there, don’t hesitate to follow delaware too; so you can see how we support the team.