During my adventure in Istanbul Technical University, ITU Solar Car Team (GAE) – ARIBA II was one of the biggest project that I took part.
The project to build a solar racing car from scratch required a multi-disciplinary effort between electrical, mechanical, aeronautical, industrial design and management departments that involved over 30 students.
During my undergraduate studies with control engineering and electrical engineering focus, I was involved with the modeling for control and electrical system design. The project was a complete success with the team winning all the races hold by Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey in 2006 (and following years).
There are multiple challenges in the solar car racing. First of all besides all the technical and tangible challenges, in a hands on student project, the communication, collaboration and motivation within the team is really important. The only incentive being the feeling of having something accomplished, it is very hard to maintain a productive team. To have many devoted and committed members with technical experience under the same flag was our main advantage (ITU GAE 2006 Team).
Solar Car racing is all about efficiency. So the ultimate goal is to cut all the overhead, all unnecessary sources of resistance and obtain a mechanically, electrically, ergonomically and aerodynamically smooth vehicle (analogous to the lean concept in IE). This design paradigm has driven ARIBA II to a completely non-flexible state, it is designed as a driver / race-track specific car. This is an extreme, but necessary trade off for racing purposes, which granted ARIBA II the leading edge to be the lightest and fastest.
ARIBA is now a saga and the team is continuing the tradition to compete in world class (best rookie in World Solar Challenge 2010). It is an honor to be a part of the pioneering team of this world class competitive project.
You can access my article on solar racing cars in the university newspaper (turkish) below.
You can access the publication from our team on the solar racing car design (turkish) below.