Uninterrupted connectivity for UNSW's solar race car

Friday, 22 December, 2023 | Supplied by: Cradlepoint Australia Pty Ltd

Uninterrupted connectivity for UNSW's solar race car

Wireless network edge solutions vendor Cradlepoint was selected to provide connectivity for the UNSW Sunswift 7 solar race car this year, supporting the car as it competed in October’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a competition for solar electric cars that takes place every two years, commencing in Darwin and finishing 3600 km later in Adelaide. The eight-day challenge not only tests the cars’ technology but also the teams that come from all over the world to try and win this prestigious and gruelling event.

Cradlepoint’s in-vehicle Wireless WAN (WWAN) solutions were used to connect the Sunswift 7 race car to the internet, as well as auxiliary vehicles that supported the UNSW race team during the competition. Connectivity ran over Optus 4G/5G cellular networks or, where there was no cellular coverage available, Cradlepoint’s routers redirected traffic to a LEO satellite for uninterrupted connectivity.

The Sunswift 7 team selected Cradlepoint to provide connectivity for their vehicles during the race based on the WWAN solutions’ ability to seamlessly connect to all devices used for the race, such as laptops, dash cameras, sensors and tablets. A key component of the solution provided was the ability to monitor connectivity of devices in the convoy remotely, enabled by Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager. APIs were used for GPS tracking, showing remote teams the live location of vehicles, and used to ensure the safety of race team members and provide vehicle telemetry data for insights and reporting. Cradlepoint routers also had built-in security firewalls to protect devices in vehicles from external attacks.

“Cradlepoint is providing the Sunswift team with crucial uninterrupted internet connectivity in and across the vehicles in our convoy, enabling us to access race car telemetry and send that data to the cloud,” said Professor Richard Hopkins, Sunswift Racing Team Principal, ahead of the race. “This means that our wider team can monitor the performance of the race car — things like vehicle speed, solar battery status, temperature — from the outback to wherever they are located. We’re also able to broadcast live and students are using it as a way to get messages around sustainability and climate change out to the public.”

The Sunswift 7 convoy was equipped with multiple Cradlepoint routers, including the Cradlepoint R1900 Ruggedised 5G Edge Router, optimised for in-vehicle networks and offering high levels of ruggedness, performance, security, connectivity and utility in a purpose-built, compact design. The R1900 delivers full 5G performance and enterprise-class security and can connect to LEO satellite technology.

“Cradlepoint is a critical piece in this race for us because telemetry is the key ingredient for success in car racing,” Hopkins said. “Cradlepoint is enabling constant connectivity to and in our vehicles either via cellular or satellite networks, which means that the health of our race car is constantly monitored and ensures the highest level of performance throughout the race.”

Ultimately the race had a bittersweet result, when strong winds put such a toll on all the cars’ batteries that none of the entrants were able to reach the day-four checkpoint at Coober Pedy before the 5 pm deadline. Race organisers announced that the final results for the Cruiser Class would be based on the standings from the previous checkpoint at Tennant Creek, where the points classification — which considers factors such as energy usage, the number of passengers and the time taken to complete each stage — placed Sunswift well ahead of its rivals. Marks were also issued by the judges based on criteria such as design innovation, occupant space and comfort, ease of operation, versatility, and style and desirability.

Following all calculations, Sunswift finished at the top of the rankings with a total score of 91.1 points to claim the trophy, well ahead of the University of Minnesota in second place on 22.4. This is the first time an Australian car has won the Cruiser Class category in the World Solar Challenge since it was first introduced back in 2015.

“I could not be more proud of this team for what they have achieved,” Hopkins said.

“We were the fastest car in the pre-race time trial, we were ahead on the road, we were ahead on points and we travelled further than any other team.

“After seeing what Cradlepoint can help us successfully do, Sunswift hopes to have a continuous partnership with Cradlepoint beyond this event.”

Online: www.cradlepoint.com/au
Phone: 1300 295 134
Related Products

u-blox F10 GNSS platform

u-blox has announced the F10, the company's first dual-band GNSS platform combining L1 and L5...

Septentrio AntaRx-Si3 GNSS/INS smart antenna

Septentrio's AntaRx-Si3 is a GNSS/INS (inertial navigation system) smart antenna in an...

STMicroelectronics ASM330LHHXG1 inertial measurement unit

STMicroelectronics' IMU for automotive applications combines in-sensor AI with enhanced...

  • All content Copyright © 2024 Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd