Posts Tagged ‘cars of the future’

IEEE EDS hosts Solar Day Student Competition at 2012 PVSC

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

On 3 June, a group of mostly 10th grade students from Taylor High School in Austin, Texas, USA took first place at the IEEE Electron Devices Society’s (EDS) Austin Solar Day Competition. The team won for its B.L.A.D.E van (Beginners Learning Alternative Designs for Energy), which it transformed into an alternative energy vehicle (A.E.V.) from a donated 1995 GMC Safari. To win, teams had to demonstrate the use of photovoltaics in a practical application, using only photovoltaics as the power source for the project.

To build the vehicle, the team met each week after school to solder 6″ x 6″ polycrystalline wafers and construct 144-watt solar panels. The students mounted the panels on the AEV to charge a bank of (8) 6-volt deep cycle batteries connected in a series-parallel circuit. The batteries are charged through voltage regulators and wired to inverters, with the inverters wired to weatherproof receptacles cut into the van. The team won, not only for building the solar cells and the energy system, and for netting sponsorships and materials donations, but for teaching the public about solar energy with fun activities like free movies in the park using a projector, DVD player and amplifier plugged into a weatherproof receptacle – all powered by the B.L.A.D.E. van.

IEEE EDS Austin Solar Day, held alongside the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), attracted about 2,000 people from the area. The competition allowed students to interact directly with world-famous photovoltaic technologists and businesses. Attendees included PV installers, PV buyers, students, utilities, and the general public interested in including solar power in their daily lives.

2011 IEEE symposium reports results from Autonomous Vehicle Challenge

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

26 October 2011 – Results from the VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge (VIAC) – a project in which driverless, green-energy vehicles completed a 15,000 km trip – were revealed at the 2011 IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium. The VIAC, partially funded with a five-year grant from the European Research Council obtained by the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society (IEEE ITSS) president, showed that vehicles may someday be able to move goods between continents without the need for drivers.

The vehicles successfully transported goods from Parma, Italy to Shanghai, China between the months of July and October 2010. Each vehicle utilized sets of high-tech equipment that included cameras, laser scanners, GPS, and sensors. They also contained computers responsible for processing images and data, path-planning, steering, accelerating, and braking. A lead vehicle set the route by continuously collecting data through experimental tests on sensing, decision, and control subsystems. It drove autonomously in mapped regions of the trip, but drivers had to take control in some occasions. The second vehicle, which was 100 percent autonomous, automatically followed the route defined by the lead vehicle, following it either visually with the use of cameras or using GPS waypoints. The vehicles were propelled by batteries charged at power outlets or by generators while solar panels on the vehicles’ roofs powered their autonomous driving systems.

The VIAC is considered a major milestone in vehicular robotics. Research results were widely publicized at the IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, the premier annual forum of the IEEE ITSS, and in the September 2011 issue of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine. For more information on the VIAC, visit the project’s website, or read more about the project at IEEE Spectrum.