The Flying RED Challenge

The world is changing more rapidly than ever before. Urban areas are getting larger and larger, existing road networks are clogging. Megacities are born and are growing uncontrollably, by millions or tens of millions inhabitants. Urban mobility is currently on the eve of fundamental change. Large scale electric transport is beginning to emerge in both the civil and the industrial sections. Self driving cars will soon be the norm, not the exception. Digitally driven mobility and logistics are beginning to arise. All of this asks for a change in infrastructure, drivetrain and energy supply. Above all it will require far reaching enhancement of sustainability, including Co2-neutrality. The sustainable goals of world leaders will require technological innovations, like solar energy obtained from solar cells integrated into a car’s body. The sun is the source.

The message is clear. We have to invest in the future of sustainable mobility. Doing nothing is no longer an option. We believe that the creation of high-end technologies which are applicable in the urban environment should be our contribution to the future. An essential part of this goal, is inspiring younger generations. After all, younger generations are the future.

The Flying RED Challenge

This is why we have founded the Flying RED in October of 2016. With this initiative we challenge two schools, the Bonhoeffer College from Enschede and the Engelbert Keampfer Gymnasium from Lemgo, Germany, to develop the best solar plane possible. The schools have been very busy building their planes since January of 2017. The planes will be outfitted with a camera and are comparable to drones when it comes to using them. The main challenge will therefore be a search mission. During this challenge they will have to use the camera mounted on their plane to find clues located on the ground. Together these clues will form a code. By putting the clues in the right order, which requires knowledge of Solar Team Twente, the code can be found which will lead to winning the search mission. Winning the search mission will result in winning the Flying RED Challenge.

A collaboration with wings

The Flying RED Challenge is an initiative of Solar Team Twente. This is why we organize the challenge ourselves, besides the work we will be doing on our solar car. We will be doing this out of passion, but also because of the addictive enthusiasm displayed by the students. Thankfully, we won’t have to do it all on our own. Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), a loyal partner of Solar Team Twente, will support us in organizing the challenge. This gave our collaboration an extra set of wings and we are very happy because of this. NLR is thé Dutch knowledge organization for identifying, developing and applying advanced knowledge in the aerospace industry. The mission of NLR is increasing the sustainability, safety and efficiency of transport; a mission which is perfectly aligned with the vision portrayed by the Flying RED Challenge and the mission of Solar Team Twente in general. With the support of NLR a professional approach and safety during the challenge will be guaranteed.

How did it all start? 

The idea of the Flying RED Challenge started in October of 2016. A German middle school named Engelbert Keampfer Gymnasium from Lemgo, Germany, approached us via Oliver Gochermann (solar cell laminate producer) to ask us if we wanted to donate a few old solar cells. As a middle school they were unable to obtain high end solar cells. We have the ambition of interesting younger generations in sustainable technologies and technology in general. This is why the request of the German middle school was received so enthusiastically.

After assessing the amount of our solar cells Gochermann had available, we quickly realized that there were a lot more solar cells available than the German middle school needed. We thought it would be a nice initiative to support the German school, but we also thought we had to do more with this opportunity. Because we had so many solar cells left, we decided to approach the Bonhoeffer college from Enschede and challenge both schools to a challenge, the Flying RED Challenge. Both schools received our invitation enthusiastically. We supplied both schools with approximately 80 solar cells, which they will be able to use for their newly built solar plane which they will be using to take on the challenge.

Do you want to stay up to date about he Flying RED Challenge? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or follow NLR, Het Bonhoeffercollege or Engelbert Keampfer Gymnasium on their social media!