Who is UiTM Eco Photon Solar Racing Team?
Representing Malaysia on a global scale is no longer foreign for local students. UiTM Eco Photon Solar Racing Team is the proof, a half million solar car project led by a Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student, Muhammad Syazwan Johari, 23.
On 13th – 20th October they will compete against other solar car teams from 23 countries, including developed countries like Japan, United States and Germany, in a prestigious event named Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2019 (BWSC 19) which is a 3,000 km race from Darwin, North Australia to Adelaide, South Australia.
As UiTM has been the sole team representing Malaysia consecutively since 2015, this will give them the competitive advantage as they have the 4 years of experience in the competition.
The project’s team, comprises of 28 undergraduate students from multidisciplinary background, is divided into several departments, depending on both various technical and non-technical job scopes.
Tigris is a super sleek catamaran-shaped car, fully powered by solar energy, through the mechanical system of specially made motor and batteries. “It took us almost a year and a half to build the car from scratch, we need to design, develop and fabricate the solar car by ourselves and that includes all technical parts like solar panel, steering system, etc” explained by Syazwan. All of these are enhanced and improvised through both internal and external supervisions by UiTM lecturers, technicians and expertise from various companies.
Tigris, the 3rd Generation Solar Car launched by the team on previous Friday, is not a commercial car. What’s so special about this car is that it’s rather a green prototype vehicle that emphasizes on energy usage and management through real-time strategy with integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI). It applies AI system to determine the car’s best cruising speed based on gathered real time environmental data. This is to ensure the minimum usage of power during travel so that the car can optimize the solar energy into battery storage, rather than passively consuming the battery.
How MARii has helped UiTM Eco Photon
Solar cars are prone to electrical issues that could lead to dangerous situations like car fire. Hence, the result from critical technical discussions with MARii Technology Team, is a significant improvement on Tigris’s safety aspect. With an upgraded self-built monitoring software, it provides a robust safety system through high accuracy measurements of Battery Management System (BMS) to prevent any electrical shortage.
MARii also has assisted in one of the most important components in a solar vehicle, which is the battery storage, by advising on the batteries’ arrangement in regards to their size, as well as their placement in a battery box. The discussion plays a key role in determining Tigris’ victory as it determines the suitable nominal power for the car.
Harnessing solar energy in a kinetic application can be a great deal of challenge as the costs it takes are monetary and timely expensive. However, it doesn’t stop these young and bright university students to undertake the challenge of developing an expensive yet efficient solar car, and take part in one of the most world’s renowned competitions. This proves that through strategic partnership between universities and the advanced technology industry, Malaysia as a whole is capable of producing not just a great electric solar vehicle, but also an efficient one.