sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
1/5/21 5:36 a.m.

So, back before Christmas, the algorithms thought I might be interested in some Premium content, specifically about the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge:

trailer:
 

 

I decided to wait until all the episodes were beyond the paywall, to start this thread.  This kind of stuff definitely drops into a Venn-Diagram of sorts for me; although, I could see a number of forum users being more of the "yeah, nope" reaction to it.  Do I need to banish this off to "Off Topic" ?

11GTCS
11GTCS HalfDork
1/5/21 6:10 a.m.

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

Thanks, I'll give it a look.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 6:18 a.m.

I'm in. 

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
1/5/21 6:24 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 6:38 a.m.

Just finished watching yesterday- gutted for the team that had their car burn to the ground when they were leading.  it would be interesting to hear why they figured out that it happened, as it was suggested that the high output rate caused it to happen.  And I've seen videos of high output packs go too high and catch on fire (tested intentionally- just to show customers).

And I thought it was interesting that the side wind issue was pretty well known, but only one team was identified to have intentionally design around that.  First, it's a known problem- for most of those teams who have been there before, and second, I would at least try to used the side wind to provide some thrust like a sail.

Finally, crappy move for my school- not letting the Japanese team pass the lead car like that.  They seemed to contest the ruling, as it seemed that there was more than one penalty put down, but I could not find any info for the sum of all the penalties that resulted in a one hour sit.  I almost sent a note to their team, but I'm sure that they have gotten a lot of negative messages based on the comments in the video.  Contacting the team is pretty easy.  I think the 'ban them forever' comments are not applicable- it was not as if they drove someone off the road, or forced them to pass with oncoming traffic.  And it would be good to know who was in on that "move"- the leaders, or just the front car?

I've been keeping an eye on this race (and the US version as well) since I was in school in 1990, as Michigan had a team in those first Solar Challenge Races back then, and have been competing ever since.  The team didn't have a great reputation to the FSAE team that I participated in, so they are not fully liked on campus.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
1/5/21 7:03 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

Finally, crappy move for my school- not letting the Japanese team pass the lead car like that.  They seemed to contest the ruling, as it seemed that there was more than one penalty put down, but I could not find any info for the sum of all the penalties that resulted in a one hour sit.  I almost sent a note to their team, but I'm sure that they have gotten a lot of negative messages based on the comments in the video.  Contacting the team is pretty easy.  I think the 'ban them forever' comments are not applicable- it was not as if they drove someone off the road, or forced them to pass with oncoming traffic.  And it would be good to know who was in on that "move"- the leaders, or just the front car?

I've been keeping an eye on this race (and the US version as well) since I was in school in 1990, as Michigan had a team in those first Solar Challenge Races back then, and have been competing ever since.  The team didn't have a great reputation to the FSAE team that I participated in, so they are not fully liked on campus.

I ended up watching the series with sleepykid#1, and their example was a good point to talk about the different mindsets you'll encounter within competition:  'win at all costs', compared to 'how you compete is as important as if you win'.  I was definitely stewing a bit after that episode, after having been a competitor in a different engineering competition in college.  I had a similar thought of contacting the team, with even less expected outcome... since I'd expect them to view any message as one in another 'pointless internet complainers'.  And, like you, I went out and tried to find a summary of adjudicated penalties and couldn't find them; which is a little disappointing.

edit:
there's a part of me that thinks/feels that the whole team needs to go through a Engineering Leadership & Ethics training.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
1/5/21 7:06 a.m.

I remember trying to build a Pinewood Derby type car to look like the GM Sunraycer when I was little. The Solar Challenge cars may not be fast by motorsports standards, but they're very interesting as an engineering exercise in going as fast and as far as you can on a very limited energy supply.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/5/21 7:23 a.m.
MadScientistMatt said:

The Solar Challenge cars may not be fast by motorsports standards, but they're very interesting as an engineering exercise in going as fast and as far as you can on a very limited energy supply.

Yep.  I love these things.

On a related note, I dated a girl during college who's father ran the high school shop/vocational MPG challenge team.  There were 2 classes, both running Briggs and Stratton 5hp engines.  The lead cars would achieve something like 1200-1500mpg.  It was very fascinating.  https://www.greencarcongress.com/2005/06/high_school_tea.html

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 7:51 a.m.

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

The real problem is that their attitude is endemic in the US education system.  Kids grow up in an incredibly competitive environment, where the location you are accepted to attend college is part of winning.  It take a long while, if ever, to teach people that collaborative work- including with your competitors, is a better way to operate than being secretive and cutthroat.  Add to that, the lack of winning over the 30 years points out that there's a lack of transfer of information from team to team- again, part of the attitude here in the US is that you know more than you really do- so learning the lessons of your predecessors is not a key part of learning.  

Even in racing, you see that- instead of copying the fastest car the best you can and start from there, everyone assumes they know how to do it better right away.  

Quite a few years ago, the UM team came to show their car at Research, and I asked them some pretty basic questions that they were pretty arrogant about knowing better than I did.  Even though it was a pretty basic frontal area question.  So this is hardly a new attitude problem.

I've never understood why experience is not held in higher esteem than it is here in the US.  I joke that I'm a lazy engineer as I'm more than willing to copy just to save time.  

j_tso
j_tso Reader
1/5/21 8:39 a.m.

Way back in the 1990s I remember this car won, the Sunraycer:

Forgotten Concept: 1987 GM Sunraycer | Autoblog

I thought more teams would apply this low to the ground concept, but I guess it must've really sucked to drive on your chest.

Edit: it won the first race in 1987 and it was Reading Rainbow where I first watched it.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 9:21 a.m.

In reply to j_tso :

The rules have changed a lot over the years.  To the point that the flat low design isn't allowed anymore.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 2:37 p.m.

Ok, so I binged watch the entire series. WooHoo!!

Heartbreaking to watch several of the efforts end so sadly  

I'm wondering if the Michigan penalties were multiplied because they did the block maneuver more than once. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 2:59 p.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

The real problem is that ...

UM ...

were pretty arrogant ...

this is hardly a new attitude problem..  

that is exactly my experience with wolverines over the 27 years that I've been here.

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Dork
1/5/21 7:30 p.m.

The subject looks interesting.  But I absolutely can not stand how documentaries and reality shows take 60 minutes to show me twelve minutes of interest and 48 minutes of wasting my time.  Even watching at 1.5 speed the time waste is too much.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
1/6/21 4:47 a.m.

In reply to DWNSHFT :

Well, you could watch the hour long recap produced by the Solar Challenge (corporation? committee? entity thing?):


it's like the rosy-eyed no-penalties version of the race, in half the time.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
1/6/21 5:08 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

The real problem is that their attitude is endemic in the US education system.  Kids grow up in an incredibly competitive environment, where the location you are accepted to attend college is part of winning.  It take a long while, if ever, to teach people that collaborative work- including with your competitors, is a better way to operate than being secretive and cutthroat.  Add to that, the lack of winning over the 30 years points out that there's a lack of transfer of information from team to team- again, part of the attitude here in the US is that you know more than you really do- so learning the lessons of your predecessors is not a key part of learning.  

I'll focus on this part first.  Somehow I managed the opposite with the team I was a part of... in part because it almost folded the first couple years I participated.  We managed to get through that, and setup a program that was as much a social club, as an engineering project.  And that's important for retaining membership and for critical "lessons-learned" technological transfers.  In some ways, I see similarities to the team I was part of in Agoria... where people who'd already graduated returned in an advisory role.

I wonder if University of Minnesota is a better team for US fans to cheer for:

I don't like the decision to trailer the car they had to make, but I think that has to do with my general dislike of the rules that bind the Cruiser class as a whole.  

I think we're getting close to the point where a solar car, with an initial charge, could "pull a Cannonball" non-stop. And I suspect that a "no-holds barred" Cannonball-sequel competition would be beneficial for these cars, which seem over-optimized into a corner.   But, those cars would have to be built by individuals, and not Universities... because the Uni's couldn't handle the risk exposure such a race would engender.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/6/21 6:08 a.m.

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

Two things-

WRT school competition and playing nice- I'm not saying that there's no team work or collaboration in the US at all.  What I'm saying is that at the schools that are harder to get into (which Michigan is one, there are many others) the competition to get in carries over into college.  I've seen that many times over the almost 30 years I've worked.  Some schools are worse than others (a couple of schools in Boston come to mind), some are the absolute opposite.  But that issue is far from unique to Michigan, and it's a massive problem for the US, as it sets up the graduates who have preferential treatment in business with a rather hard headed career.  (and yes, there are many schools in the US that companies give special note to for recruitment)

In terms of the solar challenge, given the rules that allows the teams to run in a very specific window during the day, and how dangerous it already is to run the cars on public roads, I don't see them extending the competition to run all day.  Not only do they force the teams to stop during a pretty specific window, they also have them take 20 min breaks during the day.  

What could happen is a single team deciding to set a solar car record across the continent.  

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