Unmatched 4G/5G Connectivity Powers Sunswift Racing Solar Powered Car to Success

Unmatched 4G/5G Connectivity Powers Sunswift Racing Solar Powered Car to Success


The Challenge

This case study focuses on Sunswift Racing team’s requirement to provide a cutting-edge connectivity solution that would meet the specific requirements of their vehicle terrain at the 2023 Bridgestone World Challenge.

In order to tackle this challenge, Sunswift turned to industry leaders Panorama Antennas and Cradlepoint, known for delivering high-performing wireless WAN solutions, even in the most demanding conditions. The primary obstacles faced by Sunswift included the need for uninterrupted connectivity between race and support vehicles with the command centre in Sydney, as vehicles traversed remote towns and locations from NT to SA in extreme temperatures and conditions. Given the requirement for connectivity was for moving vehicles, the innovative technology needed to encompass state-of-the-art wireless connectivity and enable efficient management of energy consumption in a remote desert location. To overcome these hurdles, the solution was needed to integrate best-in-class components, including a robust network, router, and antenna, effectively establishing a local network capable of redistributing energy consumption from the solar vehicle to the support fleet.


The Client

Sunswift Racing

Sunswift Racing, based in Sydney, Australia, has been at the forefront of sustainable transport since 1996. The team consists of undergraduate students from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) who have designed and built seven solar vehicles, with the eighth currently in production. These solar cars have impressive capabilities, including ranges of up to 1500km, a top speed of 130km/hr, and they completely reduce the amount of energy required to race, creating a fully sustainable racing vehicle built to win.


The Solution

Through a collaborative effort between Panorama, Cradlepoint, and the Optus Cellular network, Sunswift Racing was able to achieve remarkable connectivity and dependable telemetry capabilities for its race vehicle and support convoy. The chosen solution included a range of features and benefits that were integral to its success.

For robust in-vehicle network connectivity, the Cradlepoint R1900 router was selected. This high-performance solution offers the deployment of 5G NR/CAT 20 LTE mobile networking and the ability to extend deployments with powerful edge compute capabilities. To enhance the router’s coverage in remote locations, it was paired with Panorama Antennas’ 7-in-1 MAKO 5G antenna. This combination of the R1900 router and the MAKO 5G antenna is regarded as the ultimate in-vehicle solution, delivering best-in-class connectivity and is trusted worldwide.

This solution provided consistent connectivity and advanced management features, enabling the team to access real-time data and insights at an impressive level within the solar car racing industry. Secondly, the collaboration between Panorama, Cradlepoint, and Optus ensured the development and implementation of a solution tailored to the Sunswift Racing team’s unique requirements. Notably, Panorama’s 7-in-1 Mako 5G-dome antenna played a crucial role in facilitating connectivity solutions both inside and outside the racecar.

As a testament to the effectiveness of the connectivity solution, Sunswift Racing emerged victorious in the 2023 Bridgestone World Challenge Cruiser Class race, securing a well-deserved 1st place finish.


MAKO® 5G Antenna

The MAKO® 5G Dome is a range of high-performance 4×4 MiMo 4G/5G LTE antennas covering 617-960/1427-6000MHz with optional GPS/GNSS and optional 2×2, 3×3 or 4×4, or 6×6 MiMo/Diversity at 2.4/5.0/7.2GHz.

The MAKO® 5G Dome consists of up to 11 elements; four isolated high-performance antenna elements covering 617-960/1710-6000MHz. The product offers MiMo/Diversity at cellular/LTE frequencies, up to 6 optional dual band elements covering 2.4 & 5.0/7.2GHz supporting MiMo/Diversity operation for WiFi 6e. There is an optional high-performance GPS/GNSS antenna with an integrated 26dB gain LNA and high-quality filtering offering unparalleled positioning accuracy. None of the antennas in this range require a metallic ground plane, and all maintain a high level of performance even when mounted on non-metallic surfaces.

Although the LTE elements are designed for 4×4 MiMo operation, it is possible to utilise these as 2 pairs of 2×2 MiMo for a router that has 2 SIMS (radio) in a failover configuration (i.e. only one SIM active at any time). As this configuration is using only two out of the four antennas for a single SIM, the network coverage should be checked to ensure that this use is suitable.

Not only does this preserve the vehicle resale value but reduced the number of antennas on the vehicle roof, thus allowing for a quicker, neater installation and even enhanced the cellular upload speeds.


Cradlepoint R1900 Ruggedised 5G Edge Router

The Cradlepoint R1900 Ruggedised 5G Edge Router is optimised for in-vehicle networks and offers superior ruggedness, performance, security, connectivity, and utility in a purpose-built, compact design. The R1900 delivers full 5G performance and enterprise-class security and can connect to LEO satellite technology.

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