One of the many interesting projects covered by the SMART IOT London this year was “BloodHound SSC.” The engineering adventure was presented by Caroline Apsey (Business Development Leader) and Asaf Lev (BloudHound Technical Leader) both working for the American computer technology corporation, Oracle.
Dispatch Weekly was at their conference, and we now want to share with you “How data drives the fastest car on earth.”
The BloodHound project
Do you imagine a car that could drive faster than a 357 Magnum? This is the project of “Bloodhound” from an engineering company. Using aeronautical expertise and a supersonic engine, the team is building this speed monster in a workshop in Bristol.
The project is led by Richard Noble, who set what is still the world land speed record on Nevada’s Black Rock Desert 21 years ago. The new objective of Richard Noble is to break his record again and reach the incredible speed of 1000mph. In other words, this equal to four and a half football pitches in one second according to the BloodHound SSC’s website. To achieve this goal, the car is equipped with an EJ200 Jet engine, a Hybrid Rocket Engine, and an Auxiliary Power Unit.
The role of data
« We would never choose to run a car to 1000mph without data, » says Richard Noble. Indeed, data collection is the key to the well being of this project. This is why the car is equipped with 550 data sensors providing performance feedback to the technical team. The team is analysing the performance of the supersonic car after each run and gradually increasing the speed. Thereby, the final run is calibrated at the perfection so that the driver Andy Green can perform the whole run safely. “There is always somebody who could take an enormous jet engine and put in a car van chassis a sort of have a go. They might survive or they might not, but we got to survive, and we got to succeed,” said Noble on Youtube from Oracle’s channel.
The data collection is the way to resolve one of the biggest problems of this project: The directional stability. Indeed, when you drive a car at such speed, “it’s like driving on ice” says Andy Green. A tiny driver movement can have a huge impact on the car and threaten the safety of the pilot and the success of the run. The use of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented reality allows the team to see potential hazards before they become a problem on the next run.
Data is definitely a requirement for the BloodHound SSC project, but it goes further than this.
Inspiring the new generation about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Britain is facing an educational issue these days, the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) educational department suffers from the lack of student. One of the other objectives of this project is to inspire and motivate the youngsters to study those subjects. “A lot of countries have the same problem as Britain, which is a shortage of STEM-educated people. It has become a mega-problem. But now we’ve got something that appears to be working.” says Richard Noble.
To achieve this objective, the RoundHound SSC team is providing all the data collected on its encyclopedia website for the use of the worldwide public. Project organizers are also providing those data to UK primary and others school for them to use it in lessons and coursework. Actually, the BloodHound project is considered as the largest STEM educational program of the country. Indeed, major scientific discovery and achievements have proved to be a motivation for the kids to become engineers or scientists.
To arouse the attraction of the young generation on this subject, BloodHound SSC also organised a run test for the public at Cornwall Airport. On Monday 30th October 2017, BloodHound invited 10,000 fans to see a test run of the supersonic car. 3,500 school children from across Cornwall and Devon were also invited. The children had the chance to see the car in real life and to discover loads of activities and facts about the car. Those activities were some approachable games or experiences that could make science interest them.
This project is thereby a big scientific record and achievement, it shows the importance of data in the scientific progress and thelack of STEM students which would be a big loss for Great Britain.