I received email from the Oregon State University Solar Vehicle Team co-founder, Hai-Yue Han, who mentioned that Sun Surveyor had a small role in their 2013 Formula Sun Grand Prix 1st place win!
This was thrilling to hear. The 3-day race involves solar vehicles from various teams competing to complete the most laps around the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, solely using solar power. Each day involved a driving phase, and charging phases in the morning and evening, where teams attempt to locate their vehicles strategically to receive the most solar energy. Hai-Yue used the app to determine whether the vehicle would be obstructed at any point during the charging, by observing the sun’s path in the Augmented Reality view.
"In a race where we won with 661 laps, with the 2nd place car at 660 laps, Sun Surveyor definitely made a large contribution. We crossed the finish line with 12% SOC (state of charge) left, and Sun Surveyor probably bought us at least that much over the 3 days of morning/evening charging (having a light pole across your array is not what you want!). Without Sun Surveyor, we probably wouldn’t have won.
I definitely saw other teams that got obstructed by light poles at a place where our team was thinking of setting up, and because of Sun Surveyor, I told our team to move our car to a different location and they were puzzled until I showed them the AR camera with the projected sun path!" – Hai-Yue Han
This goes way beyond the scope of what I imagined the app being used for, and to me it’s funny that Hai-Yue originally emailed me to tell me that the Lite version of the app doesn’t do a good enough job of selling the full version, and mentioned the win almost in passing!
For more on the OSU Solar Vehicle Team: