The inaugural Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge (ADSC) is a multi-day cross-country road competition taking place 15-19 January 2015, starting and finishing in the United Arab Emirate's capital; Abu Dhabi.
Coinciding with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015 the ADSC will culminate in a parade through the capital ending at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) during the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit.
The ADSC is the first of its kind to be held in the Middle East and is open to solar car teams from countries all over the world.
Over the course of four days the event will see over 20 of the top university solar car teams travel approximately 1,200 kilometres.
The route is designed to provide teams with a great opportunity to demonstrate their solar cars under real world driving conditions and thoroughly test the reliability of all onboard systems.
The winner of the ADSC is determined by the total elapsed time to complete the cross-country route.
Competing in the ADSC requires intense focus and hard work from every team that enters and there are no shortage of hurdles to overcome along the way.
The cars require not only the driver and mechanics, but intensive support teams similar in size to professional motor racing teams.
Throughout the challenge the solar car travels escorted by a small convoy of support vehicles including a lead vehicle that can identify problems or obstacles and a mission control vehicle from which the pace is controlled. Other vehicles carrying replacement drivers, spare parts, maintenance support, as well as supplies and camping equipment for the team can also form the convoy.
Teams must carefully monitor weather patterns and adjust driving strategy accordingly. The mix of city and highway driving on public roads of varying conditions makes careful energy management critical.
Teams must also ensure that they follow the route precisely and obey all the rules of the road or they risk costly time penalties.