Third-year Mechatronics Engineering student Lachie Carboon has been tasked with coordinating the team telemetry system and convoy communications. Providing the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge event team with real-time data from the ASCEND Solar Car and ensuring seamless communication between all team members is no easy feat. Hear more from Lachie about being part of Team ASCEND ….
What is your role on the team, and what have you been actively involved in recently?
I am presently a third-year mechatronics student, and my primary role on the team revolves around the telemetry system and communications. Specifically, I’ve been focusing on enhancing the telemetry system, which plays a critical role in collecting real-time data from the solar car during the race. This data is wirelessly transmitted to a following vehicle, where it is analysed to make informed race decisions.
Additionally, regarding communications, I’ve been tasked with devising the most efficient method to ensure seamless communication among all team members during the race. This is crucial for making timely and well-informed decisions, which can significantly impact our performance and success in the competition.
What are you most looking forward to about taking part in the WSC?
During the race I aim to connect with passionate engineers and professionals from around the world who share our common goal of engineering efficient solar-powered vehicles. These connections could lead to valuable internships and job prospects in the future. Secondly, I see this project as a rich learning opportunity, providing not only technical knowledge but also valuable skills in communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. Ultimately, my participation in this project is about building a network and acquiring skills that will benefit my career in engineering and sustainability.
Why did you want to join the team?
I wanted to join so I could go beyond the boundaries of my regular coursework. I saw it as a chance to engage in a hands-on project and be a part of the legacy it leaves with Deakin University. it also provided a valuable learning experience. Working within a large team environment, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with individuals from diverse backgrounds and fields of expertise. I got to learn skills I wouldn’t typically encounter in my academic courses. As a result, my time on the team has improved my overall educational journey and enjoyment.
What are some of the challenges you have faced working on the project?
One of the significant challenges I have encountered during the solar car project at Ascend is the constant cycle of designing, testing, and iterating. Given that this is our first time building a solar car, it’s
natural for us to make design choices, only to realize through testing that they may not be the best fit. While this iterative process is a fundamental aspect of engineering, it can be mentally taxing. It can be hard to invest time and effort into a specific system within the car, only to discover that it doesn’t work as intended or isn’t even necessary, leading to starting from scratch.
At times, this made it difficult to stay passionate and motivated for the project. However, it’s all part of the engineering journey. Overcoming these obstacles and eventually arriving at a design that not only works but also becomes a part of the final product is an amazing feeling and makes it all worth it.
What has been the most memorable experience for you during your time on the team?
One moment that truly stands out for me was when we had the opportunity to take the Solar Car to the Anglesea Automotive Research Centre (AARC). Spending an entire day driving and rigorously testing the vehicle to identify any faults and areas for improvement was a great experience. During this testing, I had the chance to thoroughly assess the telemetry system, ensuring that it was effectively collecting all the necessary data. The telemetry system worked flawlessly during these tests and we are confident in its capabilities and reliability.