MIT Solar Car Team Blog

ASC Update

Hi everyone,

We hope your summer has been going well! In preparation for ASC, we’ve been working around the clock and will have Chopper del Sol test driving in a couple of days. Here’s some pictures of what we’ve been working on:

Dillon and Rose are sanding the fairings for better aerodynamics! And for character building.

The suspension system is lookin sweeeet.
Our drivers are trying to fit into the chassis and discussing where to put the electrical switches.

We would also like to thank our new sponsor, Panasonic, for supplying us new batteries!
 

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New Sponsor: Cabot

We would like a give a big shout-out to one of our greatest new sponsors, Cabot! Cabot is a materials company headquartered in Boston that mainly supplies rubber, carbon black, inkjet colorants, and a variety of other industrial grade products. They have been a huge help in the process and we are grateful for their support!

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SEVT Newsletter

Hi everyone,

The team is busy preparing for ASC this summer, but we’ve put together a spiffy newsletter. It covers WSC, our challenges for ASC, a featured member, and a lot of other good stuff. Check it out here:

http://web.mit.edu/solar-cars/www/newsletter/issue01/issue01.html

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World Solar Challenge 2011 Video

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New Sponsor: Dropbox

Thank you to to our newest sponsors, Dropbox, who have kindly sponsored us with a 10 TB Dropbox Team account. Dropbox’s seemless file-sharing application has been key in organizing and collaborating on our many projects.

Thank you Dropbox!

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SEVT update

Hey everyone, the blog has been a bit lacking as of late, so we wanted to update you as to whats going on in the SEVT world for the last couple months since the end of the race.

After a couple well deserved weeks of rest, and a new set of officers leading the team, we got right back to business. First off, I wanted to confirm that MIT will be attending the American Solar Challenge this summer!! We are really excited to get back to raycing, especially with Chopper del Sol. Even with our solid finish at WSC, we think we can do better. This is especially exciting, since its the first time in several years that SEVT is back on a yearly race schedule (WSC and ASC on alternate years) as opposed to our typical two-year race cycle. Also, we haven’t been to ASC for several years (since 2005), so it’ll be good to be racing on our home turf against our fellow universities.

The team is really excited, and with a fantastic new group of freshmen (no seriously, these guys are awesome) joining our ranks, we’re optimistic about our chances at ASC.

Since the end of WSC, we’ve been working hard to modify our vehicle for ASC. Although most of Chopper can remain unchanged, a few things do need to be addressed. Over IAP (Independent Activities Period – a month off in January to do anything, we choose to do solar car) we have been working nonstop. Our major achievement was doing a full layup of the lower body, which needed to be redone after our mediocre job last summer following our accident. It also gave us the opportunity to improve our manufacturing techniques and make an even higher quality composite structure. We are currently working on the body finish, prepping it for painting. We’re also redoing our fairings, making them wider so we can use wide Michelin tires, should we choose to run on them at the race.

Below are some pics of the layup. Enjoy!

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What are we up to now?

Now that we’ve been back at MIT for the past two weeks, and [hopefully] caught up on classes, Solar Car is picking up speed again. We’ve done a lot of reflecting on WSC: lessons learned, goals for next races, and of course – the design changes we will be making. 

Right now we’ve been busy with sponsorship, business work, and new member training. 
We’re working toward several goals including design modifications for Chopper v3.0 for this summer’s American Solar Challenge as well as ambitious sponsorship, media, and outreach goals. SEVT’s future is looking bright (pun intended). 
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WSC 2011 Final Results

The final results from WSC went up — the provisional results were contested, and WSC officials found a few accounting errors. We moved up one place to 15th, with the same number of solar kilometers (2222).

Full results here.

Meant to be Bent: a new series on creative interpretation of rules by Adam Delton

As many of you may have ascertained from the blog posts of recent weeks, WSC 2011 was a particularly… challenging World Solar Challenge for the MIT team.  Along the road to Adelaide we had some times where team morale was not particularly high, and it was often during these times that I made it my role to lighten the mood a bit with some completely serious speculation on methods designed to circumvent certain WSC regulations.  By popular request, I am now embarking on a mission to fully explore these interesting and complex ideas and share them with you.  As a disclaimer, all of what I detail in “Meant to be Bent” is completely serious.  The concepts that follow have been explained to WSC officials in a face-to-face setting, and each one has failed to be disallowed under the current set of rules.  That said, I cannot guarantee their compliance with 2013 rules.  So now, for Meant to be Bent, Episode I:




MEANT TO BE BENT


Swarm of Insolation Disrupting High Altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka SIDHAUAV)

– the concept is that the team will invest in repurposing discarded military drones to automatically track the position of other solar teams’ vehicles during the race day from a high altitude, and maintaining a position directly between the sun of our solar system and that team’s array of solar cells

-the effect is simulated here on the UC Berkeley, Team CalSol’s 2011 vehicle, “Impulse”

before:

after:
(head to calsol.berkeley.edu to check out Impulse and our good friends at CalSol)

– by remaining high enough in the air, the drone can perform its task relatively undetected, by resembling a (strangely persistent) soaring bird

– modifications to the wings may need to be made to increase the shadow size of the craft

– with a fleet of these artificially creating less-than-ideal sun conditions for non-MIT vehicles, we will secure ourselves a nice edge over the competition

Bottom Line:
Cost: $40 million per drone (possible price break for order of 30+)
Time: full-time project for several aerospace engineers, electrical engineers, and computer science seniors / grad students
Legality: undetectable
Awesome-Factor: 7.8/10

Further Exploration:
– training actual birds to block insolation
– mirror/lens/fiber optic system on drones to redirect intercepted sunlight to MIT array for further advantage

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More Race Photos

A couple more race photos! Photo credit: Simon Calcutt (our awesome British Electrical Engineer).  Simon had worked with the team when he had been at MIT as an exchange student from Cambridge University. It was wonderful to have him join us in Australia this year.

The team at the finish line: Victoria Square in Adelaide.
Chopper in the Australian outback. 

Epic sunset picture.
Chopper + Trailer under the night sky.
Driving through the rain. Rain-X and Silicone sealant go a long way.
Kelly cruising along.

Team paparazzi taking pictures of our lead car followed by the solar car and chase. 

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