ASC 2016: Day 4

Day 4 of the American Solar Challenge takes solar cars from their individual overnight stops along the road (shown in the map below – click to zoom) to the second stage stop at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield near Republic, MO. As my last post indicates, it’s been a battle getting this far!

The end-of-day goal is the National Battlefield below. The solar cars have between 240 km and 600 km (150 mi and 370 mi) to travel to get there. Given a 9-hour driving day, that could be difficult for the cars at the end of the pack.

The chart below (click to zoom) shows the standings as of this morning (yes, I am doing charts after all!). The horizontal axis shows the distance (in km) from the start. The vertical axis is the time (in hours) that cars are lagging behind a theoretical baseline car that drove 70 km/h all the way. Higher is therefore later, and steeper lines are slower. Data is taken from the official Stage 1 timing and from the GPS positions as at last night. The vertical segment at the end of some lines represents Stage 1 penalty time (this includes a small daily width penalty for Michigan, and larger penalties for some other teams).

Steep line segments mark the Day 1 problems experienced by Toronto (77), the general effect of the rain yesterday, and the specific problems that hit Illinois State (17) and Minnesota (35) yesterday. Michigan (2) are several hours ahead of everyone else, while Toronto (77), Principia (32), Appalachian State (828), and Dunwoody/SER (51) are battling it out for second place. Berkeley (6) are in sixth place, and ETS Quebec (92) in seventh, once penalties are taken into account. Sadly, several of the teams may not be able to reach Republic, MO by the end of the day, and will therefore be forced to trailer their car (although this will not prevent them from participating in the next stage). Good luck to all twelve teams!

Update 1: Judging from the photograph above (by Aaron Frantz), it’s shaping up to be a sunny day, which is a big improvement on yesterday.

Update 2: An hour into the race, most cars seem to be running well (see map above). The last four cars seem to be in trouble, however. This stage is 511 miles (822 km), so the table below suggests that Michigan have around 2 hours to go (in fact, they wound up arriving at 12:14:22):

2 Michigan 656 km (408 mi)
77 Toronto (Blue Sky) 533 km (331 mi)
32 Principia 469 km (291 mi)
51 Dunwoody (Combined SER) 468 km (291 mi)
828 Appalachian State (Sunergy) 437 km (272 mi)
9 Iowa State (PrISUm) 412 km (256 mi)
92 ETS Quebec (Eclipse) 408 km (253 mi)
42 Missouri S&T 407 km (253 mi)
6 Berkeley (CalSol) 375? km (233? mi)
55 Poly Montreal (Esteban) 321 km (200 mi)
35 Minnesota 279 km (174 mi)
17 Illinois State 214? km (133? mi)

Illinois State (17) seems to have had an overnight part replacement, but nevertheless trailered their car. Apparently, so did Berkeley (6) and Iowa State (9). Last news from Minnesota (35) was about two dead motors which they hoped to repair. Along with ETS Quebec (92), they drove in to Republic, MO on solar power, but after closing time. Poly Montreal (55) were apparently stopped by the side of the road yesterday, and I am not sure what their status is.

Update 3: On a more positive note, the picture above shows Appalachian State (828) rolling happily down the road. The six cars into Republic, MO before 6 pm were Michigan (2), Toronto (77), Dunwoody (51), Principia (32), Appalachian State (828), and Missouri S&T (42) in that order. Here is the timing board:

Update 4: The photograph below shows Minnesota (35) rolling down the highway today. They tell their dramatic story of late-night motor repair on their website. According to the regulations, “Any team not at the Stage Stop by the close of the Stage Finish Line will be considered to have trailered. Trailering will be considered to have started as of the position where the team is on the route at the Stage Finish Time. Standard trailering penalties will apply even if the car is driven in on solar power.” We will see how that is applied to them.

And here is ETS Quebec (92) doing end-of-day charging at Republic High School:


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