Researchers, scientists, engineers, and other professionals work daily to innovate vehicles moved by green, renewable energy. The Agoria Solar Team is pushing the limits of solar mobility with a goal to one day transform our understanding of what a solar-powered car can do.
On this episode, host Christina DePinto sits down with Frederik Vanmaele and Gilles De Baets, both members of the Belgian Agoria Solar Team. Looking to put their degrees into action a group of Belgian engineers created the first Agoria solar car over 16 years ago. Since then, the team has carried on the tradition and even garnered international success. The team won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia in 2019 and the iLumen European Solar Challenge in 2020.
As Siemens is one of the team’s technology partners, the Solar Car is built using state of the art CAD modeling software. Gilles spoke about why the possibility of applied software experience caught his interest.
“Why I really wanted to join the Solar Team and what seemed really interesting to me, is actually that very much applied use, really having the possibility of learning how one should do hundreds of simulations of a single object and constantly changing it and constantly trying new things. And by having to do that, you kind of learn how it is in real life. And although lab sessions can kind of prepare you for that, it’s not really 100% the reality and I think that something like the learning curve that we have in the Solar Team is so unique, that you get to learn so much in so little time and that it’s very much relevant to the future, and what you can do in real life, let’s say.”
Questions I Ask
- Can you walk me through your team’s process of designing and then building a solar car? (2:09)
- Can you talk a little bit more about what was new that you had to learn? (4:49)
- What was it like to transfer your theoretical knowledge that you’ve learned in your studies to this real world? (5:42)
- Can you talk a bit about how the use of Siemens software is connected to your team and the industry? (10:06)
- What is the most rewarding thing about being a part of the Agoria Solar Team? (12:39)
- What is next for you. What are you hoping to do in your career? (16:04)
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
- How it’s built, and how a solar car works (2:16)
- The constant learning that entails making solar cars (4:55)
- The advantages of 3D modeling (8:40)
- A unique opportunity the pandemic offered to engineers from several solar teams (14:32)
Although recent international competitions have been canceled , the team remains positive and focused on their goals. They even started collaborating with competitor teams around the world to research ideas as to how to best proceed with the rest of the season.
Talking about these new partnerships Fredrik said, I think that’s something really nice that has come out of the pandemic is that we get the opportunity to work together with all the different solar car teams who share the same passion, and that we can now look for different events.”
Listen as Frederik and Gilles walk through the process of innovating solar cars, from the communication needed to attract investors to the basic understandings of 3D CAD modeling and how it can help engineers understand a vehicle before its existence. This team of young engineers is undoubtedly going to impact the present and future of sustainable transportation.
Innovation in the Classroom
Innovation in the Classroom by Siemens explores best practices to empower the next generation of digital talent. In this podcast series, Dora Smith takes you through discussions with leading voices from the world of engineering education who are preparing future engineers in Academia 4.0 to shape the world of innovation.