Stanford University’s latest solar car, which took part in last month's World Solar Challenge, a sun-powered car race across Australia, used STM32 32-bit MCUs to manage its subsystems.
The Xenith solar car, designed and built by Stanford students, was among some 40 vehicles that set out on a 3,000-kilometer challenge from Darwin to Adelaide. Its electrical system relies on the STM32 32-bit to control from solar power conversion to cruise-control behavior and from helmet-mounted display control and how fast the car accelerates.
Four STM32 MCUs track the maximum power point to optimize output from the Xenith-car’s solar arrays, while another STM32 device monitors the voltage, measures the temperature and current, and performs critical operations such as controlling the flow of power through the vehicle.
Other STM32 MCUs manage communication between the driver, the vehicle, the motor controller, and the rear-wheel steering system, and handle ancillary systems such as lighting, telemetry, and tire-pressure monitoring.
“Stanford‘s decision to build subsystems in their solar car around the STM32 technology confirms ST’s strong position in the embedded application space,” said Michel Buffa, General Manager of ST’s Microcontroller Division. “We are proud to participate in the Stanford Solar Car Project, a highly acclaimed program that combines innovative research and the latest in alternate transport technologies.”
The Stanford Solar Car Project is a student-run, nonprofit effort designed to give students hands-on engineering, project management and business experience while raising awareness of clean-energy vehicles. The team operates on a two-year design-and-build cycle, and is funded by donations.