The University of Michigan Solar Car Team Wins 2008 North American Solar Challenge Utilizing Baron’s Mobile Threat Net
August 26, 2008

Utilizing Baron Services’ Mobile Threat Net system, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team brought home its 5th National Championship. The team’s solar-powered vehicle, Continuum, made the 2,400 mile trek from Plano, Texas to Calgary, Alberta, finishing 10 hours before its nearest competitor in the 2008 North American Solar Challenge, a competition to design, build and race solar-powered cars in a cross-country event.


Though this race posed a multitude of arduous challenges, including traffic, mechanical failure and fatigue, almost none of them were as critical as the weather. Being able to identify areas of cloud cover was vital to the team, who relied only on the power of the sun to propel the vehicle. “I can honestly say without Mobile Threat Net, I would have been lost on several occasions,” said Brad Charboneau, a junior meteorology student at the University of Michigan. “The first day, weather along our path was not favorable for a solar car, but I noticed that the rain and clouds stopped 60 miles ahead. Knowing good weather was ahead allowed us to maintain speed and reach the first stage stop in first place.”


Packed with the latest storm detection technology from XM WX Satellite Weather, Mobile Threat Net is a full-featured portable weather command center. With patented storm tracking, high-resolution radar, infrared satellite imagery, echo tops, winds and more right at their fingertips, the team had increased situational awareness and closely monitored the weather conditions and patterns that affected the car’s performance.


 “In sparsely populated areas of the Central Plains where weather conditions were unpredictable and often very dangerous, having Mobile Threat Net gave us a big leg up because we were rarely without radar service at any point,” said Charboneau. “The system updated quickly and was very accurate. If I didn’t have Mobile Threat Net, my job would have been a lot tougher, and it allowed us to run the car faster than we would have without it.”


The University of Michigan Solar Car Team relied on Baron Services’ Mobile Threat Net because the XM WX satellite network ensured complete reliability, thanks to robust, powerful XM dual redundant S-band satellites. The S-band wavelength meant that Mobile Threat Net did not lose its signal, regardless of the prevailing weather conditions.


The equipment needed to harness this capability—an XM WX Satellite Weather receiver, antenna, and software from Baron Services, coupled with the user’s own Microsoft Windows-based display device, such as a laptop computer—can be used in any vehicle. In order to receive and display the latest weather information, a subscription to the XM WX weather data service is required. Using optional GPS connectivity, users can easily identify their precise location in relation to impending weather conditions.


For more information on Mobile Threat Net, visit


About Baron Services
Baron Services is a pioneer in sophisticated weather analysis and technology and a globally recognized industry leader in delivering technology for the communication of significant weather events. It offers a wide range of weather solutions and owns numerous weather technology patents. The company delivers cutting-edge radar systems, advanced forecast modeling, mobile weather analysis and localized weather displays. Operating primarily from Huntsville, Alabama, with offices in Oklahoma, North Carolina and Florida, Baron Services includes four specialized divisions that continue to advance the weather industry by providing systems engineered to save both lives and property. The company has, to date, installed all broadcast dual-polarimetric radars in the world.