University of Michigan Students Win American Solar Challenge

Plus, a California utility and smart thermostat company partner on energy conservation.

by / October 24, 2016
American Solar Challenge

Ready, Set, Sun

A solar-powered car built by students at the University of Michigan won the American Solar Challenge, an eight-day race that began July 30. Powered by a 65-square-foot solar array, the university’s car, called Aurum, stores energy in a lithium-ion battery pack and can reach speeds of up to 80 mph (although the race limits the vehicles to 65 mph). Twenty-four teams of college students participated in the biennial competition in which Aurum beat the pack by 11 hours, finishing the trek from Ohio to South Dakota in 48 hours, 26 minutes and 46 seconds. Source: New Atlas

50 Billion devices will be connected to each other by 2020, according to the proposed Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act, which could give the IoT a boost in the form of federal assistance. Source: FutureStructure

Partnering for Energy

Nest, the maker of smart thermostats, is partnering with a California utility in an effort to get 50,000 participants in an energy conservation program. Following a massive natural gas leak in 2015 that has restricted supply, the company wants to encourage enough Southern California Edison customers to participate by next summer to reduce energy demand by 50 megawatts, or the amount produced by a small natural gas plant. Demand-response programs automatically curb energy use during times of peak use to help avoid blackouts. Source: Bloomberg

90% The number of people who ignore security warning messages on their computers
or mobile devices. Researchers from Brigham Young University in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers found that messages that appear while users are focused on a task like typing or watching a video are usually disregarded. Timing security warnings to pop up after users watch a video, while they’re waiting for a page to load or after interacting with a website can enhance their security behaviors.  Source:

Elaine Pittman Former Managing Editor

Elaine Pittman worked for Government Technology from 2008 to 2017.

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