"We use the Digi XBee SX module to share our telemetry with our lead/pace car that follows our solar vehicle in real time. We value the simplicity, power consumption, and small size of the XBee SX. It’s very reliable, and we don’t need any cell service, which is nice because sometimes the vehicle will travel in and out of coverage areas."

Alex Bohm, Developer

Envisioning a post-fossil-fuel transportation world, the University of Minnesota’s student-run Solar Vehicle Project has competed in more than 30 national and global competitions on three continents. Their aim: to refine car designs and rethink how people can travel in an efficient, comfortable, and practical manner using only power derived from its on-board solar panels. Digi XBee® 900 MHz modems help the team track critical data during testing and competitions.

Fueled by the Sun, Powered by Innovation

University of Minnesota Solar Car


The Freya solar vehicle

For more than 30 years, multidisciplinary teams of students from the University of Minnesota have pursued a singular vision: to apply their innovative engineering and continually push forward to make solar-powered automobiles a pragmatic reality.

Under the auspices of the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project (UMNSVP), the students’ efforts are demonstrated annually through interstate and international competitions where colleges line up their vehicles to race hundreds of miles and determine winners in a series of categories and through a variety of metrics. Over the course of several decades, the UMNSVP team has built a strong track record. In the team's history:


  • No car has ever failed to qualify for or finish a race
  • First or second-place finishes in 19 of 35 events entered
  • Eight top-five finishes in international competition
  • Raced in five different countries
  • Took second place in the American Solar Challenge seven times
  • Won the Formula Sun Grand Prix six times

 The latest iteration is Freya, UMNSVP’s largest vehicle to date and its first four-seater. This entry competes in the Cruise Class within the American Solar Challenge and Bridgestone World Solar Challenge competitions. According to Jacob Bunzel, a senior studying computer engineering, and Alex Bohm, a senior in computer science, this is the 14 vehicle the teams have produced over the past 30 years. “We make ours from scratch,” said Bunzel. “We use a carbon fiber wrapping over a Nomex-based shell, and we use similar materials for the chassis.”
The Freya solar vehicle en route

The Freya on the road

“Naturally, our goal is to create something that’s lightweight and shapable so that our engineers mold it into an aerodynamically optimized form,” Bohm said. “We have separate sub-teams of experts in aerodynamics, solar arrays, electrical systems, vehicle dynamics, operations and strategy. And we even have student drivers who are selected based on tryouts, so it’s really a very highly collaborative effort — which makes it a very fun project to be involved with.”  

Staying Connected — with Digi XBee

UMNSVP team at work

UMNSVP team members at work

One of the keys to the University of Minnesota’s SVP success is the ability to stay connected to the vehicle computers and data and remotely monitor performance in real time. That happens via the team’s integration of the Digi XBee® SX 900 MHz RF module for on-board telemetry.
The Digi XBee SX 900 provides a combination of reliability and redundancy for low-power, mission-critical wireless devices using either the DigiMesh® networking protocol or simple point-to-multipoint mode. With an integrated antenna, RF line-of-sight ranges up to 65 miles, and strong interference blocking, the module is ideal for applications requiring range, data redundancy, and data reliability. And the small Digi XBee surface-mount form factor saves valuable board space.

The Freya’s vehicle bus gathers data from custom modules and sensors, which gets sent via Digi XBee to diagnostic controllers in the lead/pace car. That server parses the data that the team uses to make real-time adjustments to the vehicle as well as create longitudinal studies and trend analyses. “We use the Digi XBee SX module to share our telemetry with our lead/pace car that follows our solar vehicle in real time,” explained Bohm. “We value the simplicity, power consumption, and small size of the XBee SX,” Bohm said. “It’s very reliable, and we don’t need any cell service, which is nice because sometimes the vehicle will travel in and out of coverage areas.”

“We like the ability to make real-time adjustments during the trips — whether it’s test runs or races,” said Bunzel. “We’re tracking everything from number of miles, charge-per-mile and travel speeds to battery levels. We’re sending hundreds of messages per second to our diagnostic computer that’s traveling along with the Freya.

Making Tracks to the Winner’s Circle

Freya Team1

One of several UMNSVP teams, with the Freya

The Freya — which can reach speeds of more than 65 mph and travel as far as 400 miles on a single charge — has continued the UMNSVP tradition, racking up impressive wins in 2021. The vehicle took top honors as the No. 1 multi-occupant vehicle at the 2021 Formula Sun Grand Prix (at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas). At the 2021 American Solar Challenge (from Independence, Missouri to Las Vegas to New Mexico), the Freya took second place in its class and notched the best Practicality Score.

“We’re constantly learning from our data and aiming to improve our reliability with additional modifications,” said Bunzel. “We have 25 people at the races and at least 50 others working on the vehicle back on campus, so this is truly a team effort. We all care about learning, collaboration, and pushing the technology. It’s a really cool experience for us all.”



蒙特利尔理工学院埃斯特万团队 蒙特利尔理工大学最新太阳能汽车 Esteban 10 依靠Digi XBee 模块实现射频和蜂窝连接 蒙特利尔理工大学的太阳能汽车 Esteban 最高时速可达 110 公里,续航里程长达 700 公里。 阅读故事 Digi 地球漫游者鼓舞人心的 STEM 机器人技术 Digi 地球漫游者鼓舞人心的 STEM 机器人技术 地球漫游者是一个 STEM 教育机器人,它展示了用于远程设备的蜂窝IoT 的强大功能。它可以远程... 阅读博客 伊利诺伊太阳能汽车队 伊利诺伊太阳能汽车团队让未来交通成为现实 自 2014 年以来,伊利诺伊州太阳能汽车队设计、制造并参加了太阳能汽车比赛,作为追求零碳生活的一部分。 阅读故事 Digi XBee 3 RF:4 种协议、3 种软件包、10 大功能 Digi XBee 3 RF:4 种协议、3 种软件包、10 大功能 Digi XBee® 3 射频模块可提供可靠的无线连接,凭借其小巧、低功耗、低功耗和低成本的特点,让您快速进入市场。 阅读博客 美国电动汽车基础设施的发展和增长情况如何? 美国电动汽车基础设施的发展和增长情况如何? 在美国,公共倡议被用来推动可持续发展工作,包括建设可持续城市。但未来... 阅读博客 物联网、环境可持续性和循环经济 物联网、环境可持续性和循环经济 多个行业正在逐步投资于物联网环境可持续性倡议,以改善... 阅读博客 IoT 革命:连接绿色科技 IoT 革命:连接绿色科技 每一个组织、市政当局和应用开发团队都有机会参与绿色经济--一个... 录制的网络研讨会 IoT-绿色技术 IoT-绿色技术 IoT 为绿色和可持续解决方案提供随时随地的连接性和智能性 查看 PDF 绿色技术 绿色技术 从风能、太阳能、水能、电动汽车到环境监测,绿色科技出现在当今旨在建设一个更加可持续发展的世界的众多倡议中。 查看应用程序 什么是清洁技术?IoT 如何促进清洁技术的发展? 什么是清洁技术?IoT 如何促进清洁技术的发展? 随着市政当局寻求改善空气质量和企业寻求降低成本,IoT 。 阅读博客 面向原始设备制造商的开发解决方案 面向原始设备制造商的开发解决方案 在您可以选择的所有IoT 供应商中,为什么要选择 Digi?答案可以用一个词来概括:经验。 查看 PDF AGH 太阳能船 Digi XBee AGH 太阳能和自主航行艇的核心模块 波兰克拉科夫 AGH 科技大学正在开发的 AGH 太阳能船项目将... 阅读故事 Reborn Electric Reborn Electric 使用Digi ConnectCore 6 SBC 为改装为电力驱动的巴士提供接口和遥测功能 Reborn Electric 将柴油动力巴士改装为电动巴士。提供监控车辆所需的接口和遥测技术。 阅读故事 泰加汽车公司 下一代动力运动:Taiga Motors 利用 Digi 解决方案打造首款电动雪地车和个人水上摩托 Taiga Motors 是一家创新型电动运动公司,总部设在加拿大,其使命是生产能够为客户提供... 阅读故事 Digi XBee SX 900 射频模块 Digi XBee SX 900 射频模块 900 MHz OEM 射频模块将最大功率、安全性和灵活性融入Digi XBee SMT 基底面中,适用于关键任务无线设计 查看产品