Students Innovate with Digi: Forze Hydrogen Racing Team

Some of the most creative applications of our products come from students. Every year, we are involved with student-led projects that are breaking new ground in industries like automotive, solar power, smart energy, and more. We support these efforts as it leads to insightful feedback on our products and fuels a talented workforce. Here is one of the many projects Digi is helping to support.

Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing is a racing team run by students of the Delft University of Technology. The goal of Forze is to promote the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology . To do this, the team builds a new hydrogen fuel cell powered race car each year. The most recent vehicle built by the Forze team is the Forze 6. The Forze 6 is the first full-size hydrogen fuel cell powered race car. With a continuous 100kW fuel cell power output and more than 200kW peak power, the Forze 6 should be able to race competitively against petrol powered race cars. In spring 2014, the Forze team hopes to set the lap record for hydrogen fuel cell cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

In order for the vehicle to be functioning at optimum levels there are a number of sensors connected to the vehicle. Digi has supplied Forze with a set of XBee modules for the telemetry system. The telemetry system is used for wireless transmission of sensor data to the engineers at the pits. The type of data can be configured at runtime, and includes fuel cell data, electrical data, GPS, acceleration, throttle position and wheel speeds. In total there are around 200 different sensors and actuator values that can be sent to the pits using telemetry.


The system is located in the dashboard of the car. A microcontroller gathers sensor data from two communication busses (CAN). This data is down sampled based on message priorities and estimated available datarate. The data is then transmitted back to the pits using the XBee module.


This not only allows engineers to detect possible problems while driving, but also to speed up the process of tweaking the vehicle’s set up, which allows the team to save valuable time when testing the Forze 6.

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Tags: XBee