COTM World Solar Challange

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STEP Electronics provided world first Comms-On-The-Move capability at the World Solar Challenge solar car race

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 solution (COTM)

The Satellite Solution

The ubiquitous capability afforded by satellites enables connectivity anywhere, even in the most remote locations and in fact anywhere on earth-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.

Av-Comm and STEP Electronics were chosen to provide a communication on-the-move (COTM) system to provide real time internet connection for the team’s command vehicle.

The STEP Electronics team designed a solution utilising the Thinkom ThinSat300 antenna system, mounting it to the top of the team’s command vehicle 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 with COTM: The Winning Solution

The Vatternfall and Agoria Solar Teams used the crucial (COTM) continuous connectivity to put them in pole position to win the race. Receiving weather and data updates of highly anticipated sun exposure and cloudless skies in real-time while en-route meant optimal car charging times for solar driven batteries.

Most importantly, the ability to adjust the navigation and route planning based on the most up-to-date weather pattern is a significant element – one which enhanced their chances of winning.

Real Time streaming

The Agoria 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 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.

Covering the glorious moment the Vatternfall and Agoria Solar Teams crossed the finish line, taking home the world cup and sharing it across the globe.

While the team may have taken home the world cup trophy, we are happy to say it was also a win for satellite communications connectivity and on the move technology (COTM)– providing a solution in isolated rural areas of the world where no other connectivity is possible. This truly is the future.

*STEP Electronics was acquired by Av-Comm in September 2019. Read about this strategic acquisition here.