By Allison P. Smyth

Every participant in motorsports strives to achieve one goal: optimal vehicle performance to overcome competition. Although this is clear, what may be surprising is the significant impact that changing weather has on the performance of race vehicles. Every race team (sportsman or professional) uses a weather station to predict performance and setup their vehicle. Until recently it was assumed that a static weather reading at the beginning of the race was sufficient to accurately predict performance. However, in 2009, the Smyth family race team found this assumption to be false. For this reason, the Onboard Weather Station, a weather station that is mounted in a race vehicle, was designed, built, and tested. The Onboard Weather Station collects temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity experienced by a vehicle during the course of a race. Data is stored on a secure digital (SD) card, and can also be transferred to a PC wirelessly while the car is in motion. This is advantageous to race teams with multiple vehicles, allowing them to have immediate access to weather data and make changes to their vehicle(s) waiting to compete. The device was designed as a series of modules to make it adaptable to many types of vehicles and racers. These modules are interfaced using a controller area network (CAN) bus. At the current time, the Onboard Weather Station is completely functional and ready for on-car testing

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