Header photo by Patrick Ooms
Our strategic headquarters on wheels
Our solar car RED E does not drive alone during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC): a convoy with 39 team members drives with RED E. In this series of blogs, we will explain how our convoy works. Every vehicle of our convoy has its own function. This week you will read everything about the DMU, our driving strategic headquarters.
How fast are we going to drive during the BWSC? When are we going to overtake? And where will we sleep tonight? The answers of these questions are decided by the team members in the DMU. The DMU drives behind RED E and is responsible for all decisions being made and the communication of these decisions to the driver. The team members in the DMU ensure that RED E is safe and that we will finish first in Adelaide. Almost all control of RED E is therefore done by the DMU.
Who are in the DMU and what do they do?
The race leader, an experienced supporting race leader, the strategist, the data acquisist, the meteorologist and an observer from BWSC sit in the DMU. Within this vehicle, the race leader is responsible for all decisions being made with the support of the experienced race leader. The strategist, the data acquisist and the meteorologist provide the race leader with all necessary information. After this, the decision will be made and communicated to the driver. The driver and the data acquisist are responsible for the execution and the implementation of it, for instance driving at a certain constant speed.
The strategist has already worked for a whole year to determine the optimal strategy for the race. We will start the race with a full battery and our goal is to finish with an empty battery. This is quite hard since determining the optimal speed is dependent on a lot of factors, such as the solar radiation, the power of the engine, the temperature, the weather, the actions of our competitors and the road conditions.
The DMU: the control centre of RED E
The DMU acts as a kind of control centre. RED E is constantly connected with this control centre to send information like battery voltage, engine temperature and solar cell yield. The strategist and the race leader need all this information to make the right decisions. The DMU is one of the larger cars of the convoy so that enough desks and laptop holders can be built in. This is all done to read out and control the solar car in order to drive the best possible race!
Do you want to know more about the DMU and the function of our strategist? Ask your questions via our social media channels!