Ready to start!

We are all set to go for the World Solar Challenge! We have passed dynamic scrutineering and will be starting in position 28. Our trailer is packed and we are ready to depart on an adventure across the outback.

Dynamic scrutineering is very similar to static scrutineering in that it verifies the safety and regulation compliance of the car, but it does so through actual driving. The process is rather straight forward and well run. Each team is sent onto the track one by one. They then complete two laps of the track the first is for getting used to the current track conditions and then the second one is timed. This time is used for determining starting positions. After that the car pulls out to the drag strip that is tangent to the track. Here the driver must successful complete 2 U-turns, a slalom, and a brake test. If you pass all these tests safely and within the regulations you are ready for the Challenge this Sunday! We got a 2:25.5455, which put us in starting position 28. We aren’t too concerned about this though; this is an endurance challenge and not a race. We hope to start passing teams fairly early in the challenge, and nudge our way up the ranks.

After scrutineering we had some chances to get pictures with all of the teams and cars. All of our team was showing our team spirit, so we weren’t able to get any pictures of this really awesome spectacle. Don’t fret though as there were many many many photographers so some pictures from it will be easy to find. Such as this one from Solar Team Eindhoven:

To finish off the day we had the joy of packing all of our tools and supplies back into our trailer along with Arcturus. Now we are packed and ready for the challenge tomorrow and will be leaving at 0400 to get in our place for the start line. The team is excited for the adventure to come!

Fun fact of the day: Most of the Australian toilets we have seen do not in fact flush in the opposite direction as American toilets.In fact they don’t really produce a spiral flush but instead just flood the toilet bowl from the front and back. The jury is still out on what “scientific phenomenon” causes this.

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Scrutineering

We are clear to start! We even have a sticker that says so. We have passed static scrutineering, and the team has been able to sigh a collective sigh of relief.

During static scrutineering the event officials verified that Arcturus met the regulations and is safe to drive. We had scrutineering on Wednesday. So most of Tuesday we were double checking our car and making sure we hadn’t forgotten about one of the minor regulations. Wednesday the team woke up nice and early at 0515 in order to pick up Arcturus from the track and get to show grounds, where the scrutineering was happening, before our scheduled time. Scrutineering went very well overall. We had designed our car safely and with the regulations in mind, and it was showing. At the end of scrutineering there were only two issues we had to fix. The first was a problem with our driver seat cushioning. Our cushioning was just barely too thick to allow the driver to have the required head space. The other problem was that to open our canopy from the outside required a screw driver,which might not be available in an emergency.

After returning to the track we began working on the problems. We quickly made a new driver cushion that was smaller but still gave the drivers enough padding. We also fixed the canopy opening problem by putting wing nuts on the opening mechanism so the canopy could be opened from the outside by hand. With all the problems solved it was time to go back and get re-inspected. We were scheduled for re-inspection at 0800 on Thursday. We arrived before 0730, got inspected, got our awesome new sticker, and left for the track before 0745. It was great to be done with this major milestone and to do so so quickly. Now all that is left is to complete dynamic scrutineering on Saturday, where the car’s brakes and steering will be tested. Just three more days until the The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge starts. The team is ready and excited for the upcoming voyage across the outback.

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge PRIMARY LOGO

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Down Under

We are down under now! All of the team members have arrived in Darwin, Arcturus is at the track, and testing is under way. Most of the team arrived yesterday (Sunday) after leaving Friday after classes. Along the way though some team members had 12-hour layovers in Sydney and Melbourne, and were able to explore a little bit. I was in the Sydney group and got a quick taste of Sydney. We managed to see the Opera House, the Botanical Gardens, and a few museums. We even managed to not get lost in Sydney (despite my best effort).

Today was the second day that the team was able to work at the track. We checked the car over completely to make sure all the systems were safe and operational after Arcturus’s long voyage across the ocean. We then were able to get on the track for our allotted half hour. This test was rather successful and we only had to made slight modifications after the test. We also were able to get some of the logistical work done, such as: setting up car radios, lights and inverters, and updating our sponsor stickers on the trailer.

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Following us during Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

Tomorrow the team will be leaving for Australia! Here’s how to follow us during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. During the actual challenge (Oct 18-25) we will be blogging daily and posting pictures to Instagram on the MITstudents account. During the challenge though we will be in the middle of the outback with very little internet connection. So our schedule may be odd, but don’t fret we will find a way to post content. Also the organizers will be putting up quite a bit of content so check them out at worldsolarchallenge.org.
Bridgestone World Solar Challenge PRIMARY LOGO

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