Baron Joins with the University of Michigan Solar Car Team for the North American Solar Challenge
June 22, 2008

With the price of gasoline higher than ever before, and the demand rapidly outgrowing the supply, the dwindling reserve of fossil fuels has spurred a search for new ways to power automobiles. Joining that search, The University of Michigan Solar Car Team has built a car powered solely by the sun. The team’s latest vehicle, Continuum, is set to race in the North American Solar Challenge (NASC), a competition to design, build and race solar-powered cars in a cross-country event on July 13-23, 2008. The race, which spans ten days and a distance of 2,400 miles, is currently the longest solar race in the world.

 

Though a race of this duration poses a multitude of arduous challenges, including traffic, mechanical failure and fatigue, almost none of them are as critical as the weather. Being able to identify areas of cloud cover is vital to the team, who relies only on the power of the sun to propel the car.

 

Meeting the team’s demand for accurate, near real-time weather data while en route is Baron’s Mobile Threat Net. 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 will have increased situational awareness
and can closely monitor the weather conditions and patterns that are sure to affect the car’s performance.

 

“Mobile Threat Net has long been used by storm chasers and emergency management for mobile weather monitoring,” said Brad Charboneau, a junior meteorology student at the University of Michigan. “A meteorologist is lost without tools of the trade, and Mobile Threat Net is the best product available for mobile weather monitoring.”

 

Started in 1989, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team is one of the first and most successful solar racing teams in the world.  Every two years, a group of over seventy college students work together to build a car that is solely powered by the sun’s rays.  Each car is raced twice, once in the World Solar Challenge (WSC) in Australia, and once in the NASC from Dallas to Calgary.  After finishing a respectable 7th place in the World Solar Challenge 2007, the University of Michigan’s latest vehicle is set to race in the NASC.

 

The product of years of hard work and innovation, Continuum is covered by some of the best Gallium Arsenide Photo Voltaic solar cells available at the time of its construction.  Every facet of the car is monitored by an advanced system of sensors that allows the team to operate it to its full potential. Additionally, the car is designed to be aerodynamically efficient and is constructed from carbon fiber, a material that is both rigid and lightweight.

The University of Michigan Solar Car Team relies on Baron Service’s Mobile Threat Net because the XM WX satellite network ensures complete reliability, thanks to robust, powerful XM dual redundant S-band satellites. The S-band wavelength means that Mobile Threat Net will 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.

 

 “It has been so exciting to have our Mobile Threat Net product be a part of such a unique and forward-looking program,” said Bob Baron, president and CEO of Baron Services. “It is certainly true that the nation as a whole needs to become more dependent on renewable fuel sources, and the North American Solar Challenge is a great way for students to get hands on experience with multiple renewable energy technologies.”

 

In addition to products like high-resolution NEXRAD radar, lightning, precipitation and more, Mobile Threat Net’s Responder data service package comes with Storm Prediction Center outlooks for day one including wind, hail, thunderstorm and tornado threats. Using optional GPS connectivity, users can easily identify their precise location in relation to impending weather conditions.

 

For more information on the North American Solar Challenge, visit www.americansolarchallenge.org.
For more information on the University of Michigan’s Solar Team, visit http://www.engin.umich.edu/solarcar/.
For more information on Mobile Threat Net, visit www.mobilethreatnet.com.


 

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.