Blog 2: Simulation day!
In order to perform well during the BWSC it is important to know exactly what to do but also to be fully aware of what not to do.
This is why we all got up at 5.30 this morning (it is still dark then) to assemble at the Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) office. Together we drove to Gunn Point Road in Darwin, the designated road for solar car testing as a big sign says. This road is relatively quiet and similar to the Stuart Highway that is mostly a single lane road.
Today we practiced many protocols, communication of the convoy and using the CB radio, taking over, oncoming traffic, being overtaken, how a BWSC control stop works etc. A Control Stop is a predetermined stopover where each car has to stop for exactly 30 minutes and where the drivers and passengers can change. STE also calls this switching the salties for freshies, no explanation needed here I guess!
All this testing and driving for hundreds of kilometers is also good to take all sorts of measurements of Stella Era, how is the efficiency, how are the batteries functioning etc. so they will start the challenge well prepared and informed. This almost academic approach proves that all the project work, trainings, and workshops at TU/e are really paying off!
We drove up and down this road all day long, had a flat tire that was quickly replaced (good practice!), drove in convoy and practiced to be overtaken by a road train. We don’t have road trains in Europe but essentially they are at least four or five trucks long, all tied together, easy to imagine how hard it is for them to stop, even in case of an emergency, or a little solar car..
But we can also boast an impressively large truck, our new trailer, driven by STE alumni that contains all tools, camping equipment and even a fridge so that is good news for the menu when camping by the side of the road!
After a long day’s work it was time for another healthy and nutritious dinner that we cooked outside the STE office on camping stoves in huge pans. Today it was a vegetable-rich red sauce pasta and all team members waited in line to be served (so no hungry guy can empty the pan) as you can see below.
After dinner we had another team meeting to evaluate the day a bit, tomorrow we will do it properly, for now, some have to go and charge Stella Era and fix some things, others go home to get some well-deserved rest.
We will be back at the office at 9am tomorrow morning.