Unlike past races, the team doesn’t have to improvise fixes to its solar race car by the side of a country road.
No, this time it’s all about keeping a solid solar race car at the front of the pack.
And that’s what happened on Saturday. The team arrived at the race’s first checkpoint, Erie, Penn., in second place. The team’s car, Hyperion, arrived 15 minutes and 5 seconds behind the University of Michigan and 12 minutes and 35 seconds in front of the University of Minnesota. Officials hit Michigan with a 5 minute penalty, moving Iowa State a little closer.
Now the team has to answer some tough questions: How fast to run? How far to run down the battery pack? How to respond to changing weather? How to win this cross-country race for student-designed and student-built solar race cars?
“We’re working on a strategy to keep the car competitive with the top teams,” Stumpges said. “We’re continually adapting the strategy as we learn the car better.”
The students of Team PrISUm have tuned and improved the telemetry system that constantly records and sends information about Hyperion’s performance. So Stumpges said the team is getting more and more useful data for its strategy sessions.
So far, Stumpges said the developing strategy seems to be working: “I think this is the best we could have possibly hoped for.”