01 June 2023
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Team Polar has reached Norway! Finally the Ice Cube braved much needed snow conditions, similar to those in Antarctica, to test the functionality of our vehicle. The location of our test was Trondheim in northern Norway. During our trip we faced many challenges, but some of the key words associated with it are - tractors and ice.
The main objective of our trip to Norway was to identify the areas where we needed to modify the vehicle to make it ready for Antarctica. But during the trip we faced several other challenges, which you can read about below!
At the beginning of the trip, we faced many challenges. One of them was getting there (in Trondheim). The trip officially began on Jan. 2 when a few team members drove a van through Norway, and the rest of the team flew on Jan. 3. When the second group arrived in Trondheim in the evening, they didn't expect what was about to happen - getting the van up a steep hill overnight. We tried all kinds of things - putting chains around the wheels, a random car tried to pull us, figuring out how to create more friction, but nothing worked. We lost hope, until a Norwegian neighbor saw us struggling and offered to help us by bringing their tractor. A snow tractor. Then luck smiled on us. We managed to drive up the hill and park it 2 km from our cabin, which was far from ideal because we had a lot of technical and non-technical luggage to carry.
The second challenge was moving the rover to the cabin. Fortunately, we had 11 members to support this activity with their muscles. We had to plan the rover's movements in the deep snow, avoiding large holes in the snow on a bridge so that the vehicle would not break. After two intense hours of pushing, pulling and falling in the snow, we managed to bring the Ice Cube to the hut. Then we made our custom driving track, which required a lot of shoveling of snow.
While testing our vehicle, we looked at a host of performance and durability tests, including driving in snow, solar panel and battery performance, and waterproofing. Much to our delight, the vehicle performed beyond our expectations and now that we have collected a lot of data, we are ready to study it further.
We would also like to maintain good relations with other student teams in other countries. Therefore, we presented our rover at the universities of Trondheim (NTNU), Copenhagen (DTU) and TU Braunschweig (TUB). There we met several enthusiastic students and professors. We exchanged knowledge about driving in the snow and received a lot of positive and constructive feedback on what we could do better in the future.
We are very grateful to all our partners who made it possible for us to come here, and special thanks to the University Fund Eindhoven (UFe), the EuroTech Alliance and EuroTech Universities for making our trip to Norway possible. Now the next step in our journey is to take a closer look at the vehicle's performance and prepare for our unveiling event on January 20 in the Blue Hall at TU/e!
Read all the latest updates from the TU/e Polar student team here!