Solar Boat

Solar Splash

I spent four years as a team lead of the University of Rochester Solar Boat team. The team designs, builds, and races a manned solar/electric boat in the Solar Splash competition. Solar Splash is a dynamic, multi-race competition that challenges students to push the boundaries of electric vehicles in endurance, top speed, and maneuverability events.

During my time on the team, I led a data-driven approach which relied on collecting extensive telemetry data to analyze subsystems and reinforce our decision-making. Our approach led to historic success for our team, increasing our top speed by 50% while using 60% less energy.

For example, we redesigned the 20kw drivetrain from a geared inboard system to a direct-drive outboard, based on data showing that we were overloading the motor and needed a larger, lower pitch propeller.

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We implemented a distributed, modular telemetry system that connected microcontrollers across the boat with an embedded Linux hub computer. The telemetry network transmitted data to shore in realtime over a radio connection, and carried throttle and other control signals around the boat.

We built UI to view telemetry in realtime, which our drivers and shore team used to coordinate strategy during the race in response to battery and solar conditions.

Solar Splash

We received the following awards at the 2019 competition:

The Solar Boat project was a complex, multi-year, interdisciplinary project, and a team effort from students across all disciplines. I built skills in marine engineering, frontend & embedded software, CAD & fabrication, power electronics, PCB design, business management, and PR… among other things!

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