Wisdom Wednesday: And now, the weather!

Today is wisdom Wednesday! The day where we enlighten you a little more on the technical aspects of our project and how we challenge the future of urban mobility with these technological innovations. This week: The weather; we are dependent on it to be able to race as fast as possible from Darwin to Adelaide. Today, Jeroen will explain the importance of a good strategy and which parameters are important for that!

Strategy: We are nowhere without it!
What is strategy? Easily said, strategy determines how we efficiently use the energy generated by the car. By having a clear idea of the road ahead, we can determine how fast we can and have to drive at each moment of the race in order to quickly reach the finish in Adelaide.

Two main ingredients
Unfortunately, designing and producing a good car concept is not enough to win the race. A big part of our win can be attributed to having a good race strategy. To determine the strategy during the race, we create a complex computer simulated model. There are two very important ingredients that go in to this model. Firstly ‘parametrization’, how much energy does the car use and how much energy does it generate? The second main ingredient is the weather. A couple of weeks from now, we will tell you more about parametrization. But now, let’s talk about the weather!

What’s with the weather?
One important part of our strategy model is the Australian weather. Different aspects of the weather have influence on our performance. Firstly, the sun. The amount of sunrays reaching our solar panel determines how much energy we have to spend during the race. The second aspect is the wind. When we have a lot of headwind during the race, our energy output will increase. You can compare it with having to bike against the wind yourself. It costs you more energy than without any wind or when you have tailwind. It is just the same for our car and, because we depend on energy which is generated by the sun, we have to be as efficient as possible with this energy! The third important aspect is the temperature. In Australia, the temperature can be very high, but when our solar cells get too hot, their efficiency decreases. We try to prevent that from happening!

And now, the Solar Team Twente weather forecast
During the race, we use different resources to forecast the weather. One way is to use satellite data and numeric data to divide our race in to different sections in order to determine which weather to expect further along the way. Furthermore, we have our own weather cars that help us to determine what type of weather awaits us and how we can adjust our strategy to it. For this, we made our own weather station which collects all the important data that we need for our model. Have a look at the video below, in which Jeroen explains more about the importance of weather as input for our strategy!

A big convoy
During the race, we drive with a lot of cars which all have their own role to play. Besides the weather car, the Decision Making Unit (DMU) is an important player in our strategy. In the DMU all of the data is gathered and decisions are made about the speed RED Shift will drive. Furthermore, there is a meteorologist in the DMU who can assist in adapting the model when the weather suddenly changes. That’s it for the weather. Soon we will test the strategy model. You can read more about that in the next Wisdom Wednesday on strategy!

Wisdom Wednesday recap:

  • In order to determine the strategy, it is important to look at the weather and the parametrization
  • By dividing the race in different sections and looking at the weather forecast in advance, we can determine our speed in those sections
  • During the race, we use different sources of information to keep our strategy up to date

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