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NetBeans: Racing Against the Wind

· Java Zone

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After the amazing success of last year's international “Racing Aeolus” race at Ringkøbing-Skjern airport in Denmark, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam has again won, this time in the 2010 race. This year, NetBeans was there to support them.

The Race

The main goal of the race is to drive as fast as possible against the wind with a vehicle driven on wind energy. Students of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, teachers and outside experts had built a wind-powered vehicle that goes by the name of “The Spirit of Amsterdam”. 

The race is organized by Wind Energy Events. The main goal of the wind race is to show that alternative fuels have a future and that it is possible to use wind energy to drive against the wind.

Several university teams from all over Europe meet each year to compete and to see who drives fastest against the wind with a wind-powered vehicle. For the second year in a row, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam was able to outsmart all its competitors by some pretty nifty engineering... and received first prize.

The Spirit of Amsterdam 2

The Spirit of Amsterdam 2 is the second vehicle built by the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. It uses a wind turbine (originally designed by ‘DonQi Urban Windmill’) to capture wind velocity, while using mechanical power to propel the vehicle against the wind.

Next to its reduced weight, the main advantage is the onboard computer with its sophisticated control system. This tailor-made computer is capable of automatically shifting gear in a fraction of a second. Via this mechanism, the gears are always shifted to their most efficient position.

The Onboard Computer

The onboard computer uses several sensors to measure wind speed, rotor rpm, etc. This data is transmitted to the control system, which stores the data on an SD cart, displays it on an LCD screen for the driver to see, and automatically shifts gear in the most efficient way.

Race Analyzer

So where does NetBeans come into this story? A program had to be developed that analyzes the race performance from the data logged on the SD card. That is where NetBeans comes in!


The ‘Spirit of Amsterdam race analyzer’ is capable of loading data from the SD card to the race analyzer. The analyzer, built on top of the NetBeans Platform, uses this data to generate charts. With the data, performance of the vehicle can be analyzed for better achievements at the next run.

So, NetBeans offered essential assistance in the winning of the race.

Visit www.SpiritOfAmsterdam.nl for more information, photos and videos. Photos can be found here on FaceBook:


And even more photos can be found here:


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