The Vattenfall Solar Team streams the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge with Aviwest
The Vattenfall Solar Team recently equipped its solar car convoy with Aviwest AIR Series ultra-compact HEVC bonded-cellular transmitter and QUAD CellLink four-modem antenna during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The race was held in October 2019, starting in Darwin, Australia, with the finish line in Adelaide. Amber Technology, Aviwest partner and Australian distributor, helped to ensure the deployment and Dutch media company Stream My Event was in charge of the live video production feed that was streamed to the Vattenfall Solar Team’s YouTube and Facebook channels.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a 3,000-plus km solar car race across Australia’s deserts, involving teams comprised of tertiary and secondary students from over 30 countries.
“Streaming the live event from start to finish created unique new challenges, such as maintaining connectivity while refueling and recovering connections after brief interruptions,” said Floris Porro, co-founder and technical producer at Stream My Event. “The Aviwest AIR increased our efficiency and completely removed any boundaries that might have prevented us from pulling this off. Aviwest equipment gave us the ability to automatically restart streaming after a connection failure, for example when a road train blocked the line of sight with our satellite, AIR allowed us to add output destinations on demand, without interrupting existing streams.”
The biggest challenge facing Stream My Event was to achieve reliable connectivity along the entire race route, across some of the world’s most challenging landscapes. They deployed five cameras, two drones, and three convoy vehicles, one of which housed the Aviwest AIR320 transmitter onboard, paired with a ThinKom mobile satellite antenna and Aviwest QUAD CellLink antenna. The satellite bandwidth was shared between the video stream and crucial telemetry and information updates for the team (i.e. weather, car telemetry, messaging, and social media links).
A vMIX video production tool provided the edited live video stream to the AIR320 transmitter. The transmitter then leveraged Aviwest SST protocol to aggregate satellite connections with those from the QUAD CellLink antenna (supporting four 4G links) to maximize the available bandwidth. Those video streams were received, transcoded, and distributed in real time by the Aviwest StreamHub to the Vattenfall Solar Team’s YouTube and Facebook accounts.
“Aviwest’s AIR320 transmitter screen was extremely useful, providing Stream My Event with an overview of all connections in use. This allowed them to see exactly which QUAD CellLink modems were performing best and improve their live streaming,” said Ross Caston, general manager, media systems at Amber Technology. “The H.265/HEVC video encoding provided by Aviwest’s equipment offered significant improvement, enhancing video quality by up to 20% compared with other solutions on the market.”