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STEP Electronics provides world first Satellite On The Move capability for the World Solar Challenge

STEP Electronics were proud to be part of the 2017 and 2019 World Solar Challenge supporting the Winning Solar Car Teams.

This colossal feat covered a 3000km race using solar powered cars from Darwin through the centre of Australia to Adelaide. With such a huge distance through vast remote areas with no reliable terrestrial mobile reception, it was imperative that the team had internet connectivity throughout the race a capability that could only be achieved with a Satellite On The Move (SOTM)solution.

The Satellite Solution

The ubiquitous capability afforded by satellites enables connectivity anywhere, even in the most remote locations. Satellite was the only choice for the Vatternfall and Agoria Solar Teams.

Av-Comm and STEP Electronics were chosen to provide a Satellite On The Move system to provide real time internet connectivity for the teams’ command vehicles.

The STEP Electronics team designed a solution utilising the Thinkom ThinSat 300 antenna system, mounting it to the top of the teams’ command vehicles in Darwin. Av-Comm provided the teleport and internet backhaul via its Sydney earth station, utilising satellite capacity provided by Intelsat’s newest High Throughput Satellite (HTS) Horizons 3e.

The Thinkom ThinSat 300 provided an ideal solution leveraging its 40W integrated BUC and innovative “VICTS” phased-array technology that combines the benefits of mechanically steered and electronically scanned arrays do deliver a high efficiency, low latency connection throughout the event.

Continuous Connectivity

Satellite on the move with COTM Satellite car

A Winning Solution

The Vattenfall and Agoria Solar Car teams used the continuous connectivity afforded by the ThinSat 300 Satellite On The Move solution to give them a competitive advantage over other teams and for the Agoria team’s victory in 2019.

The teams used the ThinSat 300 Satellite On The Move system to receive weather and data updates of critical sun exposure and cloud formations in real-time while en-route, ensuring the optimal driving strategy could be implemented balancing factors such as vehicle speed, charge times, and driver fatigue.

Real Time Streaming

The Vattenfall Solar Team was able to access live IP streaming every night regardless of location. Amazingly the team were able to live stream video interviews and backhaul action video clips to its thousands of followers – sharing every moment of their journey with their sponsors and their online audience.

As part of the journey, Pacific Live Media also followed the team from Darwin to Adelaide utilising the satellite connectivity for their media coverage of the race, capturing live video and streaming it across the global stage.

In 2017 Pacific Live Media broadcast the race around the world and, most importantly, the moment the Vattenfall Solar Team crossed the finish line in first place winning the Challenger Class category.

STEP Electronics is proud to have been a part of both teams’ successes in 2017 and 2019, and look forward to supporting them again in the future.