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World's first solar-powered family car to take on the World Solar Challenge 2013
" Students from Eindhoven University of Technology recently unveiled the world's first solar-powered family car. The car, named ‘Stella', will participate in the World Solar Challenge 2013, a 3000km race from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia, taking place in August. By employing lightweight materials, highly efficient solar panels and featuring an aerodynamic design, Stella is also the world's first energy-positive car - meaning it generates more energy than it uses, which can then be sold back to the grid.
But Stella is much more than a light aerodynamic chassis with advanced solar panels attached to its roof - it also features a wide range of other cutting edge technologies. It relegates today's dashboard buttons and dials to history with an LED strip and touch screen. It also features a steering wheel that expands or contracts when it is going too fast or too slow to help the driver intuitively keep the right speed. Stella was designed with real world use in mind. It was designed from the outset to be able to carry at least four people on a typical daily commute as well as being equally comfortable for a longer day trip from the Netherlands to France.
Stella will be participating in the World Solar Challenge's new ‘cruiser class' which is judged according to the number of people transported, the amount of electricity taken from the grid and user friendliness, as well as speed. This highlights an important evolution in solar car research as it is starting to move away from developing prototypes focused primarily on speed and more towards the practicalities of daily use. In fact, the student designers are aiming to have the car officially certified for road use.
While NXP is proud to sponsor this futuristic new car, we've gone one step further by providing our technology. Stella is fully wirelessly enabled, through our Car2Car technology which uses the specialist automotive Wi-Fi standard (ie. 802.11P), so it can transfer data with its mission control car to optimize car performance and ensure everything is running smoothly based on current road conditions.
This connected car technology is set to become central to the automotive industry by allowing vehicles on the road to automatically exchange information about their speed, position and direction in order to prevent accidents and traffic problems. It also lets them communicate with local infrastructure to determine the speed limit and the phasing and timing of cooperative traffic lights which is expected to significantly improve traffic flow in major cities while also reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
Stella also uses our LPC1759 microcontroller, which essentially powers the onboard computer, as well as our CAN (Controller Area Network) transceivers, which connect the various electronic devices and sensors that are integral to the modern car. In combination with the Car2Car technology, this means that the sensors monitoring important information like car speed and engine temperature can be monitored remotely by the mission control car.
As such, Stella is using the latest wireless and onboard computing devices that will transform the automotive industry in the coming years, as well as the solar technology that will transform how we travel a little further down the road. Fingers crossed that its superior technology will shine through in the World Solar Challenge in August by putting in a stellar performance! ... "
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