This week, from January 15-19, to coincide with the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the first ever Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge will be presented: ADSC, the newest of ISF events. The competition brings teams with diverse backgrounds and technical and scientific expertise (about sun-powered transport) from across the globe—all six continents—to design and compete their hand-built solar powered cars. Vehicle must meet every requirement set forth in the new regulations (Version 1.4 revised January 8, 2015) by the International Solarcar Federation (ISF).
Teams are comprised of bright young minds, university students from various academic institutions throughout the world, that came together to build solar cars from scratch and also, eventually, drive them in the ADSC. The teams will be challenged by four days of cross-country road competition across Abu Dhabi. The route takes the teams’ vehicles on paved roads over a total distance of approximately 1,200 km. The winner of the long journey is determined by the total elapsed time to complete the course.
The ADSC is an international competition that involves engineering students and promotes education, energy efficiency, and environmental consciousness, in addition to automotive technology (specifically electric drive based projects), while demonstrating technical and creative abilities for sustainable energy. This is the inaugural year of the event, which is the first of its kind to be held in the Middle East.
Hosting the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge in the MENA region gives UAE students first-hand experience in building and driving solar powered cars in the future, and yet, also, encourages and assists local institutions of higher learning to get involved with solar car design, fabrication, testing, and driving.
Official organizer of the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge is the Innovators Educational Foundation (IEF); the group will have oversight of the regulations for the event and will select the challenge officials (made up of inspectors, observers and a jury); they will inspect closely every aspect of the teams’ solar vehicles to determine compliance with technical, fairness and safety rules.
Registration for the ADSC event was open until October 15, 2014. By that date, the teams had to submit their entry form and include documentation on vehicle design information, including solar car mechanics as built, and provide a certificate of vehicular liability and general public liability insurance. In addition, the name of the drivers participating had to be noted in the application, followed by paying the entry fee, US$3000. All teams received their car numbers for the event. Team’s institution(s) or sponsors were placed on the sides of the solar cars, along with the Event logo, and the national flag of the country of the team.
The university solar car teams have already arrived in Abu Dhabi and their first task has been to pass scrutinizing inspections and technical qualification, which occurred on 12–14 January. Cars that passed technical inspection have already moved on to the qualifying session to complete a pre-determined number of laps on Yas Marina Circuit to qualify for the ADSC, which will start and finish in the capital of the UAE. The challenge will run on 15–19 January 2015. On the final day, the teams will parade in finishing order to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center for the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and the Zayed Future Energy prize giving, as mentioned on the ADSC website, adsolarchallenge.org.
The ADSC challenge is in line with ISF wish to find out “how fast can we go” and “how far can we go” in solar powered cars! In addition, as most ISF-recognized events, the competition seeks to promote and celebrate educational excellence and engineering creativity.