Solaride is an educational program which started from the initiative of two
students who were looking for a way to put their theoretical knowledge into practice. They came upon a crazy idea to build the first solar-powered car in the Baltics. Today the project is bigger than someone could imagine. Now it’s more than building a car.
When we started building our very first Solar car, we were introduced to SEGGER, which is the trademark for Segger Microcontroller Systems.
SEGGERs main focus is microcontrollers and all things related to them. Inseniers here in Solaride were interested in products called embOS, which is an operating system and thus the name Embedded Operating System, and emWin, a software to create a user interface on the car screens.
Because the microcontrollers have very low memory storage, very limited screens and little calculation power then being able to use SEGGERs products was one of the creadest things that happened to us. Without the emWin our work load here in Solaride would have been more than 10 times higher.
Solaride used emWin to show data for the driver and the copilot of the car. embOS was used in the brain of the car.
The car brain is the one of the most complex parts of the car, because you need to monitor many data points at the same time.
To understand embOS better let's think about the importance of the turn signal and a gas pedal. For example the controlling of the turn signal can be a little late but the controls in the gas pedal needs to be monitored and controlled 1000 times per second.
The system collects all sorts of data. Different voltages and how much energy is in the batteries, how much energy are we getting from the solar panels, how much energy is being used. The system also collects data from different temperature sensors like how hot are the batteries in the car, inside and outside temperature, engine and other car components temperature.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The system also collects data from all the buttons in the car, different sensors that are connected to the gas pedal, steering wheel and so on and on.
What is amazing about this system is that it also saves all the data it collects so that the users can analyze it and make adjustments that are necessary.
The reason that we here in Solaride used SEGGERs products and the reason why others should use it as well is the RTOS that is a live, real time, operating system. There are five similar products in the market and in the world, but SEGGER is one of the best. Not only are their products unbelievable but their customer service is also out of this world. If you need help with something, then you will get it very fast and very professionally.
Solaride is an educational program which works like a real company - it has five departments: marketing, human resources, engineering, logistics and finance. It also has the brightest mentors who help students to achieve their goals, advisory board and also a CEO who keeps the wheels rolling.
In november we started the season two where one of the aims is to build better solar car which can be used to race in 2023 in Australia at over the world known competition Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
At the moment, Solaride brings together almost 100 students from different Estonian universities and schools. The youngest team member is 15 and the oldest 72. During the first season, almost 200 active volunteers have participated in this project.
Solaride’s main sponsor is the Estonian Government with Tehnopol. Major sponsors are Magnetic MRO, Auve Tech, the city of Tartu, Elmo Rent and City Motors. Solaride is supported by University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Aviation Academy, TTK University of Applied Sciences and several other private companies.Read more about SEGGER's software and how we used it HERE