Uninterrupted connectivity in solar race challenge

Cradlepoint Australia Pty Ltd

Monday, 23 October, 2023

Uninterrupted connectivity in solar race challenge

Wireless network edge solutions vendor Cradlepoint is providing connectivity for the UNSW Sunswift 7 solar race car as it competes in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, racing from Darwin to Adelaide this week.

Cradlepoint in-vehicle Wireless WAN (WWAN) solutions connect the Sunswift 7 race car to the internet, as well auxiliary vehicles that are supporting the UNSW race team during the competition. Connectivity will run over Optus 4G/5G cellular networks or, where there is no cellular coverage available, Cradlepoint’s routers will redirect traffic to a LEO satellite for uninterrupted connectivity.

The Sunswift 7 team at UNSW selected Cradlepoint to provide connectivity for its vehicles during the race based on the WWAN solutions’ proven reliability and ability to seamlessly connect to all devices used for the race, such as laptops, dash cameras, sensors and tablets. A key component of the solution provided is the ability to monitor connectivity of devices in the convoy remotely, which is enabled with Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager. APIs are used for GPS tracking, showing remote teams the live location of vehicles, and used to ensure the safety of race team members and provide vehicle telemetry data for insights and reporting. Every Cradlepoint router also has built-in security firewalls to protect devices in vehicles from external attacks.

“Cradlepoint is providing the Sunswift team with crucial uninterrupted internet connectivity in and across the vehicles in our convoy, enabling us to access race car telemetry and send that data to the cloud. This means that our wider team can monitor the performance of the race car — things like vehicle speed, solar battery status, temperature — from the outback to wherever they are located,” said Professor Richard Hopkins, Sunswift Lead at UNSW.

“We’re also able to broadcast live and students are using it as a way to get messages around sustainability and climate change out to the public.”

The Sunswift 7 convoy is equipped with multiple Cradlepoint routers, including the Cradlepoint R1900 Ruggedised 5G Edge Router, which is optimised for in-vehicle networks and offers high levels of ruggedness, performance, security, connectivity and utility in a purpose-built, compact design. The R1900 delivers full 5G performance and enterprise-class security and can connect to LEO satellite technology.

“Cradlepoint is a critical piece in this race for us because telemetry is the key ingredient for success in car racing. Cradlepoint is enabling constant connectivity to and in our vehicles, either via cellular or satellite networks, which means that the health of our race car is constantly monitored and ensures the highest level of performance throughout the race,” Hopkins said.

“After seeing what Cradlepoint can help us successfully do, Sunswift hopes to have a continuous partnership with Cradlepoint beyond this event.”

Nathan McGregor, Senior Vice President APAC at Cradlepoint, said the organisation is thrilled to be a part of the race.

“Sunswift racing is a truly world-class project, driven by the next generation of innovators in Australia. UNSW has a rich history of proving its excellence in technology and innovation on the world stage and Cradlepoint is proud to be able to support the Sunswift team in this innovative project,” he said.

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