Yes we’ve had our fair share of wind in California and the prototype solar panel hold downs weren’t quite sufficient during some of the storms. (V2 has them very secure as we want to be able to transport them in a road trailer)
The next version of the system is designed for small volume production with an intent to survive outdoors in adverse conditions. We plan to sell V2 units as “functional prototypes” so they need to be able to survive without a bunch of maintenance. We will then iterate and replace parts in the design as we improve things.
As far as weather sealing we have a few subsystems that are of most concern:
- Electronics subsystems. PCBs are mounted in weather sealed boxes and coated with a silicone conformal coating. I think should be pretty good.
- Motors. Our V2 steering motor is sold as industrial weather sealed and it will be covered with an enclosure. I think it should be appropriate. Our current drive motors probably need better weather sealing and I suspect we may build custom motors at some point. We are undergoing long term motor testing now.
- Steering drive chain. This will be enclosed.
- Steering head bearings. Currently using mountain bike bearings. TBD if these are sufficient but so far we have seen no issues.
- Tool add ons will need to be well sealed too.
I do not have specific parameters for min/max temperature etc. All our vehicles will just live outside in the rain, get washdown as needed, etc, and as we see failures we will improve things. I did work as a software engineer on a hardware reliability testing team at Google, so I’ve seen how a well funded team does reliability testing. As we grow beyond functional prototypes, we will want to start doing more intensive reliability tests. I have some basic test stands we’ve built here, but they need more work.