Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, announced today that it is sponsoring the University of Michigan's World Solar Car Team as they race across Australia this October in the World Solar Challenge.
Inmarsat will provide the team with access to its award-winning Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, a global 3G network delivered by a constellation of advanced satellites. BGAN will enable the race team to communicate and share data between team members in Australia and back in Michigan, while at the same time keeping fans, friends and families up-to-date with their progress.
The University of Michigan is the second team competing in the world's toughest solar endurance race for solar powered vehicles to be supported by Inmarsat.
The World Solar Challenge is a biennial race across the 1,864 miles of the Australian Outback and the University of Michigan's car, 'Generation', is one of 28 entrants in the 2013 competition.
The University of Michigan's World Solar Car Team is an entirely student-run organisation, which designs and builds solar electric vehicles. Since its establishment in 1990, the team has built 11 vehicles, won the American Solar Challenge seven times and has achieved 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, VP, 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.”
For their journey across the Outback, the University of Michigan team will be equipped with three Cobham Explorer 300 BGAN terminals provided by Satcom Direct and 25 GB of data allowance from Inmarsat. During the race, the team will use the BGAN service 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 and post on social media sites to keep fans and sponsors up-to-date on progress.
“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 their support.”
Recognising the importance of harnessing solar power as an alternative means of energy, Inmarsat has taken an active role in supporting the World Solar Challenge by providing communications support to other entrants. Together with manufacturing partner Cobham, Inmarsat is outfitting Netherland's 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.
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Inmarsat plc is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organizations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. Inmarsat employs around 1,600 staff in more than 60 locations around the world, with a presence in the major ports and centres of commerce on every continent. Inmarsat is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:ISAT.L). For more information, please visit www.inmarsat.com.