A Successful Day at the Track! And an Update to the Reveal Event

Computer Systems, Featured, General / Thursday, June 6th, 2019

First and foremost, the Solar Car Reveal Event on June 7th will officially begin at 4 pm. But at 3 PM, the car will be available to look at and the team will be ready to show it to you!

The address of Raisbeck Aviation High School is 9229 E Marginal Way S, Tukwila WA 98108. See you all there!

Thanks to the generous support of PACCAR, we were able to test our solar vehicle at their Technical Center Track in Mount Vernon. We put our car through its paces, driving over 175 km (~109 miles). We also reached a new top speed in our vehicle of 73 km/h (45 mph).

Our Car Speeding through the turn at PACCAR’s Skagit County Track

To analyze our data, we upload all gathered information that is logged by our onboard telemetry device. While we are working on implementing the final system to upload this data live as we race, currently we upload the data after driving. We put the data that is logged 5 times per second onto our own MySQL Server (a type of database), where we can then use a separate Grafana Web Server to view and analyze the information.

A view of today’s data acquired through racing.

As shown in the picture above, we have many different graphs to see various attributes of the vehicle and how they change over time. We can see the speed, amperage, voltage, wattage, motor temperature, distance traveled, energy used, solar panel amperage, GPS Speed, GPS Location, GPS Elevation, and more! Being able to look back after the race and analyze the data allows us to find areas of improvement in our vehicle design and driving techniques.

The GPS track-log of today’s racing
Blue represents battery charging, green represents draining, where light green is draining at the lowest rate and darker green representing at higher rates. Yellow and Red show the highest drain rates.

Our database is ready for live telemetry, and we only have some minor tweaks before it is fully functional. We need to implement better error checking systems, and we need a more stable internet connection. We have acquired a cellular to ethernet hotspot and a large antenna that we will use to have our vehicle always connected to the internet.

Our live telemetry dashboard for live data analysis

We ave gauges set up, as shown above, ready to display live data. We can track both measured (Hall) speed, GPS Speed, Wattage, Voltage, Amperage, Solar Amperage, and Motor Temperature live (in image above from left to right; top row then bottom row). As seen in the bottom right, we also have two different times displayed – the first is the time that the data was pulled from the server (if we have an internet connection at the pits, this will be the current time) and below that, the time of last data upload from the vehicle. (This screenshot was taken hours after we drove the car, hence why the time discrepancy is so large). Our goal with live telemetry is to have our transmission time from car to pits be less than 5 seconds, with our ideal time being within 2 seconds.

Anna testing the communication devices before testing

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