What better place to harness the power of the sun than in the Australian outback? For Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins, the location was an obvious choice for their inaugural Solar Car Challenge in 1982.
Fast-forward to 2017 and it is no surprise that the event, now known as the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, has gathered quite a crowd of fans. This has grown to the extent that this year – for the first time – interviews and action video clips of the race will be live streamed to the global stage via satellite.
The groundbreaking broadcast is the result of a collaboration between Newtec, Network Innovations, VRT Sandbox and Pacific Live Media, as well as Belgian entrant Punch Powertrain Solar Team, one of the 42 teams from across the world competing with their highly tuned, bespoke, eco-friendly vehicles.
Terrain vs. Transmission
Spanning ~3,000km of arid Australian outback, the race presents various physical challenges on the ground. However, communicating with the outside world has presented perhaps the biggest obstacle in the past.
With plenty of sun, the power to run the vehicles taking part is guaranteed, while sharing the team’s progress with its home base has always been a challenge. As the cars speed along the route dealing with changeable conditions as they go, the Punch Powertrain Solar Team has always been disappointed by not being able to communicate efficiently with their online supporters.
In previous editions of the challenge the team could only upload occasional videos to the internet but these were few and far between. Transmission of these short clips was also very time-consuming as connectivity was patchy or non-existent, with team members often having to drive up to 150 km to find a broadband access point.
Sharing Success via Satellite
Thanks to the partnership formed between the Punch Powertrain Solar team and Newtec, Network Innovations, VRT Sandbox and Pacific Live Media, though, this year will see coverage of the team’s venture brought to a whole new level.
The collaboration will see global satellite communications solution integrator Network Innovations provide its MAVERICK VSAT service, powered by Newtec Dialog®, to the Punch Powertrain Solar Team. This solution will enable the crew of the Punch Powertrain Solar Team to broadcast daily overviews of their journey from Darwin to Adelaide.
VRT Sandbox will provide the technology for broadcasting a multicam "report of the day" via Facebook Livestream and will support media coverage in the lead-up, while a local Pacific Live Media crew will accompany the team through the Australian desert and assist with all media coverage.
With the race starting on Sunday, October 8 excitement is mounting among all companies involved in this project – which simply wouldn’t be possible without the power of satellite.
Follow the progress of Punch Powertrain Solar Car on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/solarteam.be
You are in Darwin (Australia) this Friday?
Join us and witness the first live transmission this Friday evening, October 6, in Darwin: