First Look at UMSolar's 'Quantum', NY Times Article

Submitted by nightavenger on April 12th, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Really great article officially revealing the Solar Car team's 11th car "Quantum" to the world. There should also be a bunch more pictures of it up soon on the team's website. Quantum's first real test will be at the Formula Sun Grand Prix in Indy from May 2-7.




April 12th, 2011 at 11:27 PM ^

Damn. Sexy as always. Congrats to the team for getting her together. Now please don't crash it.

P.S. what's your connection to the team, nightavenger?


April 13th, 2011 at 9:07 AM ^

You got the 4x8 plywood right, but they didn't use a rowboat and garbage bucket—they used a fiberglass bathtub and a plastic laundry basket. Much lighter than a metal boat and bucket.


April 13th, 2011 at 2:02 AM ^

No offense to engineering students, but I got a kick out of this.

Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"


The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."

The first engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fitted."


Optimus Hart

April 13th, 2011 at 10:11 AM ^

Joining the team is actually pretty easy.  You go to North Campus for the meetings once a week and you're added to an email list.  Nominally there are around 200 people on the team at any given time.

Of those 200 though only a handful, maybe 40-ish, contribute useful work calling companies for sponsorship, designing, or building the car.  At some point, typically before spring break I think, about 20 people are picked by the team leaders to actually go on the race.  Those are normally the ones who would skip classes to work on stuff for the team and have all the skills needed to keep the team and car running smoothly during the race.

Think of it like a walk-on program.  You don't necessarily need qualifications coming in, but you go to the team meetings, prove yourself, and possibly work your way into going on the race.


April 13th, 2011 at 12:33 PM ^

They've added a "Core" level of membership that fills the gap between general membership, which was always open, and race crew, which was a select group chosen shortly before race season.

Not sure what the requirements are (I believe membership is unlimited but you have to put in x hours, go to x meetings, etc.), but basically it allows the team to recognize and require a certain level of commitment from the people who do the heavy lifting in the design and build phases.


April 13th, 2011 at 7:11 AM ^

The cruise control is manipulatable via iPhone? As in "there's an app for that" (sorry for the prosaic cliche)? I can't tell whether that is very cool or suggestive of the fact that any outsider is $0.99 and a simple password hack away from submarining UM's hopes for a championship.


April 13th, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

eventually the driver will be nothing but balast. A computer may not be the best driver in all situations (see DARPA Grand Challenge), but when it comes to trying to reach maximum efficiency on smooth roads, the only thing the driver should be there for is to make sure the car avoids that rather large armadillo that just ran out into the road.


April 13th, 2011 at 10:38 AM ^

The teams really taken this one to the next level. I was on '97 and '99 teams and it's true that our cars were built a little more robustly than other teams. The result though was cars that never had any major mechanical breakdowns.
<br>If you're in Indy I would recommend catching the gran prix in may, we did our qualifier there in 1997 an it's a blast to see the solar cars zipping around the brickyard.

Naked Bootlegger

April 13th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

I usually love the naming conventions of UM's solar cars that often have a direct link to our fine university.  How about QuantUM?!  

Also love the winged helmet design of the "cockpit".   Very nice.

In addition to the countless hours spent by the Solar Car team designing and building a top-notch car (and fundraising!), it should be noted that the UM team expends considerable time and effort carefully planning and executing a race strategy.   We have a great history in these races with awesome cars, and strategy often plays a huge role.


April 13th, 2011 at 9:14 PM ^

Anyone notice that QuantUM wieghs less than BWC? That's crazy.


@Blazefire: Dilithium fits the naming convention, I hope they use that for the next car. They could put a huge decal of Denard's smile on the side of the car blinding all the competition causing them to run off the road. Ok, not really on the last part, but Dilithium would be cool.