World Solar Challenge Media Roundup

Jimmy Hack // // No Comments

Flags are waved at a press event. Image Source: WSC Flickr

Our blog will continue to be the base point for updates on CalSol’s progress. For more on-the-fly updates keep checking in with the team’s Twitter.

As the race continues you can get updates on the race progress from a variety of sources. The World Solar Challenge website is the source for official news, and their Facebook page also shows some of the latest photos and news.  CalSol is our favorite team, but for updates on all of the teams involved is the best source.   Leading up to the race they provided excellent coverage on all of the team’s build progress and they continue to update on the developments in the race (although with a slight preference for the leading teams from the Netherlands).

The map displayed on our front page will show the progress the team makes each day, but to see our live position relative to other teams check out the satellite tracking on the official race dashboard.     They’ve been having some technical difficulties, so I’ve prepared a backup map here.

The World Solar Challenge Flickr is producing a stream of photos.   Photographer Mark Brake also has a nice little collection of images as he follows the race.   Panasonic has a fairly interesting series of videos covering the race and the leading team Tokai.    Our team is taking lots of pictures and some videos as well, so be sure to check back in after the race when they get the chance to upload them.

Rayce Day 3: Did They Send Me Fire When I Asked for Sun?

Jessica Chang // // No Comments

Three days into raycing, the team began to realize why this is a Challenge as opposed to a Race.

Like a WSC official commented yesterday at the Dunmarra Control Stop that we unfortunately missed by a minute, “all kinds of sh*t happens when you rayce a solar car across the Outback!”  In the past couple days, we have had some seriously ridiculous problems with our solar arrays and power point trackers, and they are so baffling and frustrating as ever.


Rayce Day 2: Get Ready for a Bumpy Ride!

Michael Vogel // // No Comments

Impulse eagerly waits for the sun's rays to peek over the tree line.

Rayce Day 2 dawned bright, promising a sunny day for the team.  Due to our misfortunes yesterday with the batteries, our team decided to get up early to take advantage of the morning sun and begin charging. The team got into position for an on-time start at 8am, ready for a full day of driving.  We have been taking it easy to keep charging our batteries while we drive but are optimistic that we will make it to the next checkpoint and will meet our projected distance for the day.


Rayce Night 1: Sleeping with the Termites

Brian Duffy // // No Comments
Impulse charging at camp 20km out of Katherine

Impulse gathering the last rays of sun at the end of Rayce Day 1.

It may not be immediately obvious to some, but even when Impulse isn’t on the road, there’s a great deal for us to do.  Things like choosing a place to spend the night, fixing any persisting car issues, and setting up camp all have to be done sometime during the night, while at the same time making sure everyone has enough food and sleep to keep up the pace the next day.  And for a crew of 22 people, this can take a bit longer than expected.


Rayce Day 1: “Lucky” Number 13

Marc Russell // // No Comments

Impulse leaves Darwin, 290km to Katherine.

Today was the big day, for the first time in our team’s history, CalSol officially rayced in the World Solar Car Challenge. Once again, a huge thanks to all those who supported us: friends, family, and of course our sponsors. Without their support we certainly would not be here today. The team got an early start to the day (some of us more so than others, thanks Amando, Ankur, and Rafael for getting the trailer!), to bring Impulse safely to the Northern Territory Parliament House where the race started.



And They’re Off!

Jimmy Hack // // No Comments

CalSol, the UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle team is finally off on their race across Australia. The teams have lined up and as of 8:30 AM the race has begun.

The team will have fairly limited internet access from here on out. The map we have embedded on our site should update roughly daily as the team uploads their location data. For some real excitement check out the race’s official map showing updates from all of the teams using a satellite tracker. Watching from Berkeley I can see all of the teams streaming out of Darwin right now.

UPDATE: the official race tracker has been down due to traffic overflow, so try out this slightly enhanced “mirror” version I set up instead. When it can’t get up to date data it’ll show you our last known position instead.


Day 18: Shake and Bake (in the Sun)

Martin Taylor // // No Comments

"We don't want ya damaging your cars before ya start the rayce."

Today was rayce day on the track. We began our dynamic testing with a couple qualifying laps. The previously relaxed pit atmosphere was abuzz with the excitement of competition. In the pits, crews worked furiously to prep their cars: checking tire pressure, cleaning arrays, and running diagnostics. On the roof, drivers and captains met for a huddle with the head race official. “And remember,” he said, standing atop a crate, “the track rayce is 3 km, the road rayce is 3000 km. Drive safely, save your car for the road.”


Day 17: Ready to Rayce!

Michael Vogel // // No Comments

G’day mate,

We’ve passed scrutineering! After a full day of inspection, Impulse has been declared ready for the Saturday dynamic testing for the Veolia World Solar Challenge.

The scrutineering facility, and the largest air condition facility in the southern hemisphere.

Scrutineering took place on Thursday in the Darwin Convention center, which is apparently the largest air conditioned room in the Southern Hemisphere. The cool air was a welcome relief after the many hot days at the track.


Day 14: Solar Sauna on the Speedway

Michael Vogel // // No Comments

Rafy drives around at slow speeds

Today was the first full day of testing for CalSol. After much debugging and coding yesterday, Impulse began moving quickly and efficiently with no errors. With the success yesterday brought us, we were pumped and ready to get out driving at the Hidden Valley Raceway here in Darwin.


Day 13: Impulse Drives Down Under!

Chris Cartland // // No Comments

On a hot Saturday morning CalSol hits the raceway. The team arrives in two shifts: the first one leaves at 7:30am to fix the canopy and finish wiring the dashboard. The second round of members sleeps in for an extra two hours in order to prepare for an intense day of coding.

Ryan is all stocked up and ready for a marathon code session

Ryan has been working particularly hard and after waking up at 9:00am he needs iced coffee. The mission began and after a fruitless expedition for an open cafe we stopped at a Caltex station to load up on a variety of milk coffee drinks. These nine drinks are all for Ryan. Soon after receiving this coffee-load his coding began feverishly.

A few hours later, Impulse drove for the first time in Australia.