The Mechanical Team is in charge of the overall design of the solar car. They design and build the aerodynamic shell, the chassis, and the vehicle's suspension. Aside from building the solar car, the Mechanical Team coordinate the driver controls such as steering, braking, and acceleration.
The electrical team is responsible for the design, selection, and installation of all electrical subsystems in the car. These systems include, but are not limited to, the battery pack, battery protection system (BPS), motor controllers, sensors, driver control interface, and the solar array. All circuit boards on the car, except for the motor controllers and MPPTs (Maximum Power Point Trackers), are custom designed and assembled by member of the electrical team. These boards are then programmed by electrical team members in collaboration with members of the computer science team. They also collaborate on the implementation of the telemetry system for the car, which is used for strategy during our races. For Gato del Sol VI the electrical team designed and built a new battery pack, dashboard, solar array, 12 new PCBs (printed circuit boards), implanted two new motors, and implemented four new MPPTS. Unfortunately, the new BPS was not completed in time for the 2018 race so an off the shelf unit was temporarily used in its place. In the coming years the team will work on refining the design of Gato del Sol VI to reduce power consumption, component size, and cost leading up to our next vehicle.
Strategy & Computer Science Team
The Strategy & Computer Science Team is mainly responsible for data collection and strategy planning. During the race, they collect real-time data from the many embedded systems on the car, including the battery, motor, Maximum Power Point Trackers (MPPT), and various other devices. They then take those data and further analyze them to infer more useful information like the battery state of charge, battery runtime, and optimal speed for maximum travel distance. The analysis sector is in work-in-progress, and they will soon create a model of Gato V to fully understand its behavior for more accurate strategy.
This Business Team in responsible for creating the public image of our team. The Business Team finds our donors that make funding the team possible. They plans outreach events that we take the car to and showcase our work. The Business Team is also in charge of updating our social media outlets.
Monon Rahman is a Senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering here at the University of Kentucky. As Team Manager, he has led development on Gato del Sol VI while maintaining the strong relationship between the team and the University. Monon is also a huge motorsports fan, especially for NASCAR, and he wishes to work and compete in NASCAR one day. Outside of UK Solar Car, he is also heavily involved with Formula Kentucky (UK's Formula SAE team).
Chris Heintz is a Graduate Student from Chesterland, OH and studies mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky. Chris is the current Engineering Lead for team, where he led the design of the chassis and suspension of Gato Del Sol V. Chris' experience on the team has allowed him to gain insights into the engineering field and believes this has allowed him to succeed in his internships and co-ops. Prior to joining the UK Solar Car Team, Chris was the president of Combat Robotics in high school and participated in FIRST robotics. His intentions are to remain on the team until he finishes his studies and hopes to stay involved as an alumnus. This semester will mark Chris' ninth semester on the team.
Craig Lindsey is a Senior at the University of Kentucky from Brandenburg, KY studying Mechanical Engineering. Craig has been a member of the team since Fall 2018. Craig leads the mechanical team alongside Daniel Kennedy. As a team they manage the mechanical team and oversee the physical and digital projects that go into building a car. These include aerodynamics, chassis, suspension, battery box, and driver interfaces. In his free time, Craig enjoys playing video games and the piano. After graduation, Craig has accepted a position with General Motors in Product Development to continue his passion for cars.
Rayna Weibrecht is a Junior at the University of Kentucky from Kansas City, Kansas studying Materials Engineering. Rayna leads the mechanical team alongside Dylan Poe. As a team, they oversee managing the mechanical team and all digital and physical assemblies that go into the car. This includes the roll cage, suspension, chassis, steering, brakes, canopy, top shell retention, air flow, battery box, and composite layups. Rayna has applied her solar car experience in two manufacturing internships/co-ops and remained active on the team while on co-op with 3M in Lexington. In her spare time, Rayna is also involved on campus with the engineering sorority Phi Sigma Rho and the Society of Women Engineers.
Luke Wormald is a junior majoring in Electrical Engineering who joined the team in the fall of 2016. He assumed the responsibility of electrical team lead in the spring of 2018 and is responsible for managing the electrical team members, making electrical design decisions, and overseeing the construction and maintenance of the final systems installed in the car. He is currently leading the design of a new Battery Protection System to be implemented on Gato del Sol VI for the 2019 race.
STRATEGY & COMPUTER SCIENCE LEAD
Weilian Song is a Computer Science student at the University of Kentucky, obtaining both his Bachelor and Master of Science degree at the same time. Weilian oversees the software development for the electrical hardware, ensuring the solar car runs safely and correctly. Weilian is also involved in race strategy, analyzing performance of the solar car and optimize race for most efficient energy usage. Ourside of solar car, Weilian enjoys casual sports and music. This will be Weilian's seventh semester.
Christopher Wheatley Jr
Christopher Wheatley Jr is a third year Materials Engineering student at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. He worked a year as a CoOp at Constellium Rolled Products as an aerospace aluminum Quality and Processing Engineer, where he developed a prototype plate product currently in production. His current research focuses on dynamic building design for natural disaster prevention. His abstract on Origami-Inspired Additive Manufacturing was accepted at the Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials IX conference and the University of Kentucky Undergraduate Research conference. At Kentucky he was awarded as an Otis A. Singletary Scholar for outstanding academic and community achievement. Christopher currently serves as member of the Lewis Honors College, Treasurer of the Kentucky Materials Advantage chapter, and Business Lead for the University of Kentucky Solar Car Team, where he previously served as Media Lead.
Grant Sturgill is currently a graduate student at the University of Kentucky majoring in Computer Science. He joined the team in his second semester of his undergraduate sophomore year. As Media Lead, Grant is in charge of the various visual media the team produces, such as posters, fliers, and team apparel. In addition, he also maintains the team's website and social media pages. Grant is currently employed at Myers & Stauffer, LLC, and plans to begin a career in computer science research post-graduation.
Nelson Akafuah, Ph.D.
Dr. Nelson Akafuah earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 2009. His research interests are in subjects such as Automotive Surface Coating and Inspection, Electrostatic Effect on Paint Spray, and Nondestructive Evaluation of Surface and Subsurface Defects. Dr. Akafuah joined UK Solar Car as the team's Mechanical Advisor in Spring 2019. Along with advising for UK Solar Car, Dr. Akafuah works significantly with the Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD) at the University of Kentucky. You can find more information about IR4TD here: https://www.engr.uky.edu/ir4td
William Smith, Ph.D.
Dr. Smith earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1990 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His research interests are in Radio Communications, Antennas, and Electromagnetic Compatibility. Dr. Smith joined UK Solar Car as the team's Electrical Advisor in Spring 2019. Dr. Smith is also currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Electrical Engineering at the University of Kentucky.
Bruce Walcott, Ph.D.
Dr. Walcott earned his Ph.D. in 1986 at Purdue University. His research interests are in subjects such as All-Digital Control Design, Deterministic Control and Estimation of Uncertain Systems, and Nonlinear Systems. Dr. Walcott joined UK Solar Car as the team's Outreach/Engagement Advisor in Spring 2019. Prior to this, Dr. Walcott was UK Solar Car's first advisor in 1999 and the team's interim advisor in Fall 2018.