Over a decade after its debut in South Africa, the Sasol Solar Challenge is set to return to Johannesburg where talented young engineering teams will challenge each other to travel 2500km to the finish line in Cape Town. Over eight days, the international teams will put newly developed solar car technology to the test as they pass through a series of towns across South Africa at a rate of 250-300km per day.
For the Agoria Solar Team, 2019 victors of the solar race, memories of their 2021 Morocco race will still be fresh. After the postponement of the original Australian Solar Challenge due to COVID-19, the team instead raced across the tough terrain of the Atlas Mountains, through villages and towns to finish second. This year, the team, led by race strategist, Tine Wildiers will face a new set of challenges on a new route, and we’re looking forward to accompanying them once again providing essential mobile connectivity throughout the journey, enabling rapid sharing of information, access to weather reports and a means for the team to keep in touch with each other and other cars involved in the race as well as fans, family and friends.
More than a race
But the Solar Challenge is so much more than simply a race. It’s an incredible opportunity for young engineers to put their talents to the test and to push themselves to the limit. They have spent months developing a solar vehicle, tweaking it to make it as fast and efficient as possible. On top of engineering, they will need to be broadcasters and journalists, conveying the story of their journey at intervals during the race through live internet updates. They will need to be resourceful, think on their feet and overcome inevitable problems along the way. As we know, this is an unpredictable race where anything can happen.
The challenge also shines a light on the importance of sustainability. The solar technology developed by the teams improves every year. The insight gained from the development of these vehicles can be shared and used to inform advancement of battery technology. It also brings home to those that enjoy watching the race that solar power is truly the energy of tomorrow as we continue to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and look for alternative power sources.
At ST Engineering iDirect, we have experience with the solar team’s challenges together with our partners , Kymeta, Intelsat and ourselves – to deliver critical mobile connectivity. Combining Kymeta’s latest Hawk u8 antenna which features our integrated modem technology and Intelsat’s FlexMove managed service. Connectivity is tough to come by in the regions that the solar car will be traversing. There will be no access for most of the race when the car leaves towns and cities far behind. Therefore, satellite is the only option available to equip teams with the communications they need to successfully navigate the course. The FlexMove solution will empower the team to quickly and easily leverage connected mobility and portable connectivity solutions. The team won’t even need to wait for resources or capacity to free up – it’s all covered through the service. The Kymeta Hawk u8 is rugged, highly portable and rapidly deployed and offers the perfect antenna solution for this race.
The Agoria team are safe in the knowledge that they can stream video, send large files, and connect with loved ones and fans at any time during the race.
COME WITH US!
Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on social media where you’ll find regular updates with interesting articles, videos and interviews and make sure you visit our blog page where you can also keep fully updated and get the inside track on what’s happening with the team (and the connectivity).