IBM Research Offers solar forecasting technology to University of Michigan 

IBM Research said on Thursday that it is providing advanced solar forecasting technology to the University of Michigan to power its solar car in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

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IBM said the UM student team will leverage IBM Research’s cognitive computing expertise. This technology will enable racers to gain real-time insights into conditions such as cloud cover and wind patterns as well as determine how much solar power will be available to fuel their car along the course race.

IBM stated that its researchers are using machine learning to blend data from sensor networks and local weather stations.  Moreover, they have considered cloud motion physics derived from sky cameras and satellite observations, and multiple weather prediction models.

IMB developed the solar forecasting technology with support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. The move is to find new ways to improve the accuracy of solar forecasts that can then be used to optimize solar resources as they’re increasingly integrated into the nation’s energy grid.

The University of Michigan said its team is confident that IBM’s  solar forecasting technology will help them make better decisions in their racing strategy when their car, Aurum, competes over four days in the World Solar Challenge.

The team will leverage two kinds of forecasts provided by IBM’s solar forecasting technology. The first technique enables the students to obtain more accurate forecasts on the race route two or three days ahead.  Meanwhile, the second forecasting technique applies to near real-time conditions

“We are excited to explore how cognitive computing can augment the capabilities of this extraordinary group of students at theUniversity of Michigan to compete in the World Solar Challenge,” said Dario Gil, vice president of Science and Technology, IBM Research.

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