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Meet the Team - 29 May 2024

What is a Meet the Team Event?

The purpose of a Meet the Team event is not only to have new interested members explore and learn about the opportunities that Team Polar has to offer. It is also not only about the team showing curious future engineers about the progress that the team has made thus far and how they can collaborate in the mission of pioneering autonomous Antarctic research. The true purpose of a Meet the Team Event is to help future members in their journey of growth and self-development.

What did we do this time?

Similar to the first Meet the Team Event that we had on April 24th, the event started with our board members explaining the history of Team Polar. A short glimpse into how this humble honours project fuelled by passion and a will to make an impact has grown to be a team of passionate engineers looking to make an impact in Antarctic research by innovating new technology and solutions to problems. Next, followed an explanation of the morals and values of the team, ranging from our motto to "fail fast, learn quickly" to the approach that we have to ensure that members accomplish as a product of learning rather than learning for the sake of accomplishing. After this, the progress that the team has made on the technological front as well as on the side of PR and business and highlighting the goals that we have for the start of the academic year in September.

But a presentation wasn't all that the team had in stock! 

After this, we had half the group of over 30 participants split into a group that went around learning about what it is that each subteam, in particular, was doing. The new PCBs that the Electrical team has been working so hard on, the algorithms implemented in the mini cube and the pathfinding algorithm by the Autonomous team, the CFD and stress testing simulations done on the future chassis and structure of the next vehicle by Structures, the suspension and steering systems that Dynamics has been investigating, the leaps and bounds done by the Energy Management team to begin the preparation of creating our custom hearing and cooling battery system, the efforts that the business team has made to reach more partners, and the huge outreach that the PR and Marketing team has done to both make a bigger presence on campus and in the region.  

While this group was going through these "Speed Dates"  the other group was engaging in the mind in the cognitive challenge that is... building lego. Well, it wasn't as straightforward as it sounds. The participants were divided into groups of 3. Each group had one director, one architect and one builder. The director can see the the instructions and can only talk to the architect, the architect can see the final build and can speak with both the builder and the the director, and the builder builds from the instructions of the architect. 

After about an hour, pizzas arrived and everyone sat outside, enjoyed the sun and talked further. After dinner, the two groups flipped and we enjoyed the rest of the evening building lego, getting to know one another, and learning about how one can help in the mission of Team Polar.

Overall, the event was a great success and a great time for both the members of the current team and the members of the future team!

Sprint Day - 18 May 2024

What is a sprint day?

A sprint day is a day where members of the team work together to finish multiple tasks over the span of a day. We do this so we can coordinate with each other and improve synergy between departments. It was a fun experience where we could bounce off ideas and make concepts into reality.

What have we done this time?

This weekend, we made much progress on all fronts ranging from business, PR, structure, and dynamics. Much ground was made into streamlining the business aspect for potential partners and the promotion of the team by collaborating with the PR department closely.


In dynamics, more research on the suspension was made in order to assist the structure team that was working on the outer shell of the vehicle. This helped the structure team to be more accurate in producing an aerodynamic CFD. The results of this will be then further used by the energy management system to simulate the vehicle.

From one day, we have learned a lot of things and ironed out a lot of things. We aim to make further progress in the future whether it is though the sprint day or any other day. Regardless, we are one step closer towards our goal. This day has been proven to be very productive and the team will be looking forward to the next one!

Pioneering Autonomous Antarctic Research

Facilitating the human-led and autonomous research in the Antarctic continent.

Who are we? 

Team Polar is an Eindhoven-based student team filled with students from different disciplines. Our mission is to facilitate and improve the research going on in Antarctica. We aim to achieve this by building an autonomous, affordable, and electric rover. The reason we go with Antarctica is that the current research going on is led by human-driven vehicles using fossil fuels. Building an autonomous vehicle means it is safer and less expensive since there is no driver to pay.  

The Ice Cube 

After working for more than a year, Team Polar came up with the Ice Cube. Ice Cube was just the first step towards our vision of building a sustainable and affordable research environment in Antarctica. Ice Cube has 2 square meters of solar panels which helps Ice Cube to go up to 65 kilometers (about half the distance from Washington, D.C. to New York City) per day. With its 28' wheels, the Ice Cube weighs around 350 kilograms (about 771.62 lb).  

Progress on Ice Cube 

Team Polar is in the second prototype's design process, and the Ice Cube is only used for testing. Since the Ice Cube was built in a short time, some features were missing, such as autonomy. Our software team is using the Ice Cube to test their software and the new sensors that we are aiming to implement on our second prototype. While these tests are being made, new structural components are also being tested. Such as gas springs, hinges, handles, etc. Meanwhile, we are developing a force balance that helps determine possible ranges of mass of the next vehicle. We are also looking into the location of research, which will help determine the driving range and strategy for the energy balance (which will probably be made next year). 

Processing REMA Image 

Under the “Autonomous Department”, our engineers successfully developed and implemented code to process   Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) images. 

REMA provides the first, high-resolution (2-meter) terrain map of nearly the entire continent. Since each REMA grid point has a timestamp, any past or future point observation of elevation provides a measurement of elevation change. 

REMA may provide corrections for a wide range of remote sensing processing activities, such as image orthorectification, and interferometry, and provide constraints for geodynamic and ice flow modeling, mapping of grounding lines, and surface processes. REMA also provides a powerful new resource for field logistics planning. 

This is an important step for the autonomy of the Ice Cube. The goal is to calculate the altitudes in Antarctica to find out the clearest and most optimized path for the rover.  

The next step for these images is to transform the processed REMA images into a format that is compatible with our A* algorithm.  

A* Algorithm 

The A* search algorithm is one of the best techniques used in path-finding and graph traversals. The path we derived will be the shortest of all the other options or the most efficient by all parameters considered.  A* works by making a lowest-cost path tree from the start node to the target node. What makes A* different and better for many searches is that for each node, A* uses a function f(n) that gives an estimate of the total cost of a path using that node.

The environment of Antarctica and the conditions are the hardest part of our project. We need to come up with innovative and technical solutions. Understanding the altitudes and general geography of Antarctica is crucial.  

Furthermore, the design of the rover plays a huge role in our path to success. Our Dynamics Sub team is trying to come up with new ideas for the newest version of the Ice Cube.  


Unlike the Ice Cube, the new vehicle will use a suspension system. The test in Norway in 2022 showed that; the main purpose of having a suspension is important for keeping all wheels on the ground, for improved traction. Also, it will dampen vibrations to keep the vehicles' most important components as stable as possible.  

The suspension system the new vehicle will be using is a so-called double wishbone suspension. For this suspension, every wheel is connected to two-wishbone-shaped arms. Every wheel is independently controlled.  

The main advantage of the double-wishbone configuration is its good ratio of kinematic versatility vs. complexity, it being slightly more complex than other systems like the McPherson strut and slightly simpler than others like multi-link suspensions.  

Ground pressure 

Getting the right ground pressure is extremely crucial for the environment the vehicle will operate. A ground pressure that is too high will cause the vehicle to get stuck in the snow or even fall into crevasses. To prevent this, the ground pressure that will be aimed for in the new vehicle is 0.1 bar. This value is also used by Artic Trucks or other snow vehicles such as the tracked vehicles made by Mattracks. In comparison, the average human exerts a pressure of 0.17 bar on the ground. The low ground pressure is achieved by maximizing the contact area using large and not fully inflated tires. 

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