Inmarsat is sponsoring a second team in the 2013 World Solar Challenge.
The University of Michigan's World Solar Car Team is one of 44 groups from 25 countries taking part in the world's largest solar electric vehicle event.
Inmarsat will provide the students with access to its award-winning BGAN service as they race their solar car Generation across Australia in October.
BGAN will enable the race team to communicate and share race-critical data between members in Australia and back in Michigan, while at the same time keeping fans, friends and families up-to-date with their progress.
The World Solar Challenge is a biennial race across some 1,864 miles (3,000 km) of the Australian Outback.
The University of Michigan's World Solar Car Team is an entirely student-run organisation.
Since it was founded in 1990, the team has built 11 vehicles, winning the American Solar Challenge seven times and achieving third place in the World Solar Challenge five times.
“Inmarsat is proud to support the University of Michigan's World Solar Car Team as they seek not only to excel in this year's World Solar Challenge but also to further global efforts to harness natural sources of energy,” said Gerbrand Schalkwijk, Vice President, Inmarsat Energy.
“Equipped with Inmarsat's BGAN service, the team will have access to broadband speed data and uninterrupted connectivity throughout their journey across the mostly uninhabited Australian Outback, helping them to achieve maximum performance during the race.”
The team will be equipped with three Cobham Explorer 300 BGAN terminals provided by Satcom Direct and a 25GB data allowance from Inmarsat.
During the race, the team will use BGAN to share information on weather forecasting, road conditions, potential hazards along the race route and details on the performance of the vehicle.
BGAN will also enable the team to post images and videos on social media sites to keep fans and sponsors up-to-date.
“Reliable communications is a vital part of the World Solar Challenge and with Inmarsat's BGAN network we have the advantage of having real-time knowledge of conditions that might affect performance,” said Jeffrey Cwaganberg, Director of Meteorology, University of Michigan Solar Car Team.
“We are grateful to Inmarsat for its support.”
Together with manufacturing partner Cobham, Inmarsat is also outfitting Netherlands-based Team Twente with mobile satellite connectivity for their car, The Red Engine.
Additionally, Inmarsat partner JSAT Mobile Communications is working with Addvalue Technologies to sponsor the Solar Car Project Team from Kogakuin University in Japan.