Date of Defense



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Frank Severance

Second Advisor

Dr. S Hossein Mousavinezhad


An Intelligent Energy Management System was developed for the Sunseeker 454 Solar Racecar. The System consists of a data acquisition device designed to monitor vital statistics about the car and its progress through the racecourse. Software was developed to control the data acquisition, monitor vehicle parameters to ensure they are within safe operating ranges, and intelligently manage the speed of the vehicle. The Energy Management System is able to determine the speeds along the course that will minimize time and still meet the energy balance requirement at the day's end to allow for successful racing the next day.

Development of a highly reliable system necessitated the use of commercial off-the-shelf equipment where available. The data acquisition system consists of National Instruments SCXIbased data acquisition cards controlled by a laptop computer running LabVIEW. LabVIEW provides the software interface to both the real-time data acquired from the solar car and the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet where all of the optimization routines are executed. LabVIEW uses ActiveX to communicate vehicle and route information to Excel, which then updates its model, recalculating the optimal speed of travel. LabVIEW then requests the updated optimal speed and uses the data acquisition system to provide this information to the solar car.

A highly accurate Energy Management System was developed in which GPS data and vehicle parameters can be used to construct an optimal run for a given race route for a given vehicle. The cost of the system is within the budget of many teams, although the development time may exceed what many teams are able to allocate. This system will allow the race team to be assured that the car will be able to traverse a given race route in the minimum time allowed by the physical limitations of the racecar, the course, and the weather. This is of extraordinary significance given that the winner of Sunrayce is determined by the minimum total elapsed time to complete the entire course.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only