Its name is “Havin” meaning “shining sun.”
This vehicle runs entirely on solar energy, and can travel at 130 kilometers per hour (or about 80 miles per hour).
Fitted with silicon solar cells, the Havin was designed and manufactured by students at the University of Qazvin in Iran.
The fiberglass vehicle was unveiled during the 2011 RoboCup symposium in the country’s capital, Tehran.
The Iranian RoboCup National Committee, which puts on the exhibition, is a research and education initiative that aims to promote robotics and artificial intelligence.
The two-day fair included a wide display of robotic technology, including robots that play soccer, and a machine programmed to locate landmines.
Computer studies undergraduate student Neda Najar says Iran is pulling its weight when it comes to the development of robotics.
“The robots that have been produced in Iran — from a visual and technical perspective — are a lot better than their foreign counterparts. For example, with the Chinese ones, their air pumps were large fizzy drink bottles.”
The committee’s General Chair, Dr. Morteza Mousahkani, says he has high hopes for robotics in Iran.
“(We want to) essentially reach a stage where we can utilise robots instead of man in challenging environments, where we need their help. For example, a robot that can do house-work for someone who is ill, or a robot that can operate in a polluted industrial area, or even under water, where there is immense pressure for divers and so on. We want that robot to be able to operate and act in place of mankind.”
That goal may be easier said than achieved, with Iran currently facing severe restrictions on dual use goods and technology. The European Union has placed restrictive measures on Iran which include bans on equipment which the EU believes might be used for internal repression.
Nevertheless, Iranian contributors at the expo like Abol-Ghaxem Zarein say they don’t consider the restrictions as a handicap.
“We have limited access to some equipment. We really cannot have certain fixtures to use for our robots. And this restriction can in fact result in our robots being weaker than their international counterparts. Sometimes when we don’t have these devices, one can utilize one’s own creative mind.”
Making the most of available resources.
Bottom line: University students in Iran have developed their own version of a solar-powered car. The environmentally friendly “Havin” can travel up to 130 kilometers an hour (or about 80 miles per hour).