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Cradlepoint and Optus steer UNSW through outback solar race

Cradlepoint and Optus steer UNSW through outback solar race

Will connect UNSW car competing in Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

UNSW Sunswift 7

UNSW Sunswift 7

Credit: Cradlepoint

Networking vendor Cradlepoint has partnered with Optus to propel the University of NSW’s (UNSW) solar car from Darwin to Adelaide. 

The LTE and 5G wireless network edge solutions specialist connected the Sunswift 7 solar race car, which is competing in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. 

The World Solar Challenge first took place in 1987, while the biennial event will take place from 22 October to 29 October and consists of a fleet of cars competing to race 3,025 kilometres through Australia’s outback. 

Cradlepoint supplied its in-vehicle Wireless WAN (WWAN) solutions to connect the Sunswift 7 race car to Optus’ network, as well as auxiliary vehicles that are supporting the UNSW race team during the competition.  

Connectivity will run over Optus 4G/5G cellular networks. Where there is no cellular coverage available, Cradlepoint’s routers will redirect traffic to LEO low Earth orbitt (LEO) satellite for uninterrupted connectivity. 

According to Cradlepoint, a key component of the solution is the ability to monitor the connectivity of devices in the convoy remotely through Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager.  

The vendor explained that application programming interfaces (API) are used for GPS tracking, showing remote teams the live location of vehicles, and used to ensure the safety of race team members and providing vehicle telemetry data for insights and reporting.  

Every Cradlepoint router also has built-in security firewalls to protect devices in vehicles from external attacks.  

“Cradlepoint is providing the Sunswift team with crucial uninterrupted internet connectivity in and across the vehicles in our convoy, enabling us to access race car telemetry and send that data to the cloud,” said Professor Richard Hopkins, Sunswift Lead at UNSW. 

“This means that our wider team can monitor the performance of the race car – things like vehicle speed, solar battery status, temperature – from the outback to wherever they are located,” he said. “We’re also able to broadcast live and students are using it as a way to get messages around sustainability and climate change out to the public.” 

Nathan McGregor, senior vice president of Cradlepoint APAC, said Sunswift was driven by the "next generation of innovators in Australia".

"UNSW has a rich history of proving its excellence in technology and innovation on the world stage and Cradlepoint is proud to be able to support the Sunswift team in this innovative project,” he added.

In June this year, Optus and Cradlepoint also bolstered connectivity for Super Retail Group (SRG) using an enterprise-grade 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).

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