Last weekend I was visiting my daughter in Boulder and heard that the Winston Solar Car race would be finishing up at the school stadium where you could see the cars and meet the teams that made them and drove them over eight days from Texas in this year’s competition. Now as you know, I love tech competitions, and this one is a great experience. A dozen cars competed this year, and some were interesting entries: an all-girls team, a team of Choctaw Indian students, and even one from New York. My daughter’s initial comment was telling when we came upon the finish line: “These aren’t cars, they are more like go carts!” And yes, the solar panels do dominate the vehicle profiles, in some cases they aren’t much more than a collection of panels bolted to a set of wheels.
I was amused to see that one of the cars had a Netgear router and a bunch of other computing gear that they use to keep track of battery use and also to communicate with their support van over a Wifi network. It was fun to talk to the kids involved — some of whom were not yet old enough to drive the cars that they helped assemble. And do check out the Winston web site where you can see lots of race photos and stats about each of the teams.