Citrix enables knowledge-sharing for the Vattenfall Solar Team
The Vattenfall Solar Team is a self-managed group of 17 students from the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. The team formed in 1999 when two TU Delft students were inspired by the film Race the Sun to participate in the World Solar Challenge.
Every two years, team members invest their time to design and build a race-car for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge — a 2,500-kilometer race for solar-powered cars, designed and built by the world’s leading technical universities. Teams change for every event and must design a brand-new solar car each time. The TU Delft team first competed in 2001, winning gold, and has now won seven of the ten events it has entered. The team also competed three times in the Sasol Solar Challenge, winning three times.
The team had much to prove when it competed in the Solar Challenge Morocco in October 2021; during the last race, in 2019, the car went up in flames just before reaching the finish line. The challenge for the team now was to race its radically designed, asymmetric three-wheel car, Nuna 11, over a total of five days and five demanding stages.
The goal — aside from winning — was “to inspire the world for sustainability and innovation”, and Citrix was there to help. In the team founders’ own words: “Work from anywhere, on any device. With the right digital workspace technology, there is no limit to what you can achieve. This has been more important than ever with designing and building our solar car during COVID times!”
The team achieved an impressive third place in Morocco, taking the challenges of a desert race in its stride, battling traffic, sandstorms and even the stomach flu but also managing to briefly be at the front of the stage before securing its podium spot.
Citrix is a Gold Sponsor of the Vattenfall Solar Team, and the students use Citrix ShareFile to help solve two major challenges: transferring knowledge between past and present teams, and securely sharing, storing, and syncing large volumes of data from the car during the race.
“You can imagine that during a race you are in the middle of nowhere — the Sahara Desert or in the mountains — and have limited connectivity, sometimes nothing at all,” says team spokesperson Tanya Spee. “During the race, we use Citrix ShareFile to share our files, media content, and all our videos between our three media cars in the race and our back office in the Netherlands. That way, we quickly get our story out to the press and social media so that people can follow our progress day to day, or even minute to minute.”
During the competition, the engineering students must do everything themselves, from designing, building, and racing the car to creating their own IT environment. ShareFile’s ease of set-up, therefore, makes it an ideal solution. “Having the right digital workspace technology has been more important than ever with designing and building our solar car during COVID-times,” Spee says. “Citrix ShareFile is playing a critical role. It will be instrumental in helping the team win again and in sharing our story with the world.”
The team also enjoyed another benefit: Citrix sponsors the Red Bull F1 team and managed to arrange an online meeting between the TU Delft students and one of Red Bull’s chief engineers. Dutch Red Bull F1 driver Max Verstappen also sent a message of support to the team.
Over the years, the TU Delft team has amassed huge amounts of data, which it wants to use in combination with real-time race data to make the solar car as efficient as possible. Citrix ShareFile’s ability to securely sync, store, and share files will be key to enabling this.
During races, real-time data on weather, road conditions, and car performance are correlated with historical data in order to optimize performance. Additionally, ShareFile will play a critical role in reaching the widest possible audience and getting the team’s message across via social media.
ShareFile will be instrumental in making the team win again and spreading the message about its performance and the wider goals of sustainability and innovation.
Having the right digital workspace technology has been more important than ever with designing and building our solar car during COVID-times. ShareFile is playing a critical role.