Belgium will once again be represented in the bi-annual Bridgestone World Solar Challenge to be held in Australia from 13-20 October. This is the 15th time the solar powered crossing of Australia has been held with a journey of 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide. Yesterday, the Agoria Solar Team unveiled the car that they hope will win them this prestigious competition!
The pressure is on as, in the last race held in 2017, the Leuven team placed third. Twenty engineers from KU Leuven have developed the car which is fully powered by solar energy and smaller than the past seven attempts.
Always a popular race, this year the event has attracted 53 entries from 23 countries. In the week preceding the event, teams must pass a series of practical safety and compliance tests to qualify for the start line. The final qualifying activities are the time trials at Hidden Valley on Saturday 12 October – a highlight for many. With around 1,500 participants, the event is followed by a global audience of over 25 million, generating industry partnerships across many difference sectors including energy, engineering, financial, material sciences and IT sectors.
To bring the race to life, it’s vital that followers can engage with the teams and watch their progress, yet access to connectivity is challenging on such a remote, single track route. However, Newtec and its project partners Network Innovations, VRT Sandbox and Pacific Live Media, will offer the Belgian Agoria Solar Team access to critical connectivity so that they can stream live video via satellite, providing updates on their progress to their family, friends and followers back home. Through regular daily live posts, the team will be able to share, in real-time, their adventure with fans on the other side of the world. During the last race in 2017, the daily updates were hugely popular as the race went on, with the team managing to grow its audience at the same time.
As in the last race, satellite will be integral to the Agoria Solar Team’s communications with other means of Internet access extremely limited or non-existent. With teams spending their nights in remote areas or at service stations that offer limited access to 3G or 4G services, a solution is required that provides reliable connectivity. When multiple teams are all vying for cellular network access, these networks become overloaded and so an alternative method of connectivity is essential.
The last event saw some teams followed by satellite trucks. Effective, yes, but incredibly expensive. Another solution was to ‘save’ social media posts and videos to upload when connectivity became available. It works, but the beauty of social media and live streaming is that it is offers immediacy and creates a real buzz. By the time teams managed to upload their posts, the moment was gone.
This year, as in 2017, Newtec and its project partners look forward to enabling instant connectivity so that fans of the race can enjoy ‘the moment'. Using cellular and satellite technology, live broadcasting, social media use and the ability to keep in touch with HQ and family and friends will be available when needed, even in the most remote Australian regions.
Here at Newtec we are excited to follow the Agoria Solar Team’s progress and to provide reliable connectivity wherever and whenever it is needed so that everyone can experience this mammoth race. With satellite on their side, there are no barriers to what this Solar Team can achieve!
Good luck to the Agoria Solar Team from everyone here at Newtec!
Want to follow the Agoria Solar Team? We'll regularly post updates on our own social media channels, and you can find theirs here:
- Agoria Solar Team on LinkedIn
- Agoria Solar Team on Facebook
- Agoria Solar Team on Twitter
- Visit the Agoria Solar Team website