Two cars carrying STMicro's tech set to race in World Solar Challenge in Australia



In this year's World Solar Challenge, two cars are being powered by technology from STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications. The Stanford Solar Car Project, a non-profit group comprised entirely of students at Stanford University, selected the STM32 F4 series of microcontrollers for use on the 2013 Luminos solar car. The solar car uses dozens of ST microcontrollers to monitor battery life and solar-panel efficiency and to control the electric motor and driver-control functions - key factors to completing the race across the harsh Australian Outback. Ultimately, the STM32 microcontroller enabled the students to optimize the performance of their car based on real-time analysis of vehicle and environmental conditions. And since the ST microcontrollers are in constant communication with each other, all the data can be processed and logged on the car in real time and transmitted to the rest of the team in a chase vehicle during the race to ensure the solar car is running smoothly or troubleshoot as needed. Italian-based team Onda Solare, comprised of technicians, students and professionals working in the alternative mobility and clean-energy fields, are also using STMicroelectronics' components in their 2013 solar-car entry. Their solar car - the Emilia 3 - utilizes ST's SPV1020 interleaved DC-DC boost converter with an embedded Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithm that maximizes the power generated by photovoltaic panels on the car, independent of temperature and the amount of solar radiation captured as the car changes directions with respect to the sun. The Emilia 3 also uses the SPV1001 cool bypass switch to reduce power loss and improve efficiency of the energy coming from the solar panels. "Both the Stanford Solar Car Project and Onda Solare have chosen different STMicroelectronics' parts for their solar-car designs, which demonstrates the diversity of our product portfolio," said George Vlantis, R&D Engineering Manager at STMicroelectronics. "Both teams have already demonstrated the reliability of ST components and the expertise of the teams' engineers in the last race in 2011. We wish both teams the best of luck this year as they set off on another 3,000-kilometer drive across the Australian Outback." STMicroelectronics