Speed Demons: Sierra Wireless and the Fastest Car in the World

By Special Guest
Shrey Fadia, Special Correspondent
August 01, 2018

A British team is developing a car – the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car (SSC) -- that will be capable of reaching 1,000mph, powered by a rocket bolted to a Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine. And, thanks to IoT technology from Sierra Wireless, the world will have a front seat view as the BLOODHOUND Project team attempts to make history by breaking the land speed record. Let’s start with the car.

BLOODHOUND SSC is a British supersonic land vehicle currently in development. According to the BLOODHOUND SSC website on the project, its goal is to match or exceed 1,000 miles per hour, achieving a new world land speed record. The pencil-shaped car, powered by a jet engine and a rocket engine, is designed to reach 1,050 miles per hour, with the intention of breaking the land speed record by 33%, the largest ever margin.

In July 2016, it was reported that Andy Green would pilot the BLOODHOUND and attempt to break his own World Land Speed Record.

This is not a steady state: the team developing this speed demon plans to increase the speed progressively, year after year.

Next year, BLOODHOUND wants to run above 500mph by mid-year.

In late 2019, the goal is to raise the existing world land speed record (763mph) to 800mph.

In 2020, the intention is to exceed 1,000mph.

Once the team fits the rocket and starts aiming for supersonic speeds, they are going to need help stopping the car using parachutes and airbrakes.

So where do IoT, IIoT, and sensors come in?

While the development team has cutting-edge computer science behind them, this is still an unexplored territory when it comes to physics, and the BLOODHOUND team is using data from almost 200 aerodynamic pressure sensors to help them develop the car.

Visual simulations clearly show a huge supersonic shockwave sitting over the cockpit, which is exactly what's supposed to happen, to slow down the supersonic airflow to below Mach 1 (the speed of sound) before it gets to the jet engine.

(This could get very noisy for driver Andy Green, the current World Land Speed Record Holder, who will be sitting directly underneath the supersonic airflow!)

Aerodynamics is just one area where BLOODHOUND’S data is going to provide key information to attack their ultimate target of 1,000mph.

Sierra Wireless, a leading provider of device-to-cloud solutions for the IoT, is providing the wireless technology to enable connectivity to the vehicle using their AirPrime LTE embedded modules via AirLink gateways.

The same connected car technology that Sierra Wireless provides to commercial automobile manufacturers will be used by the BLOODHOUND to send and receive critical telemetry data to support vehicle operations, as well as live streaming video feeds of its attempts at the world speed record. Yet, BLOODHOUND’s use of IoT technologies to collect data is anything but standard.

For example, BLOODHOUND is using the rugged AirLink gateway, an internet router able to withstand the bumps and jolts of vehicle use – and even if you are driving on a flat service when you trying to reach speeds approaching 1,000mph, even a small bump can provide quite a shock. In addition, a custom LTE/4G wireless network was created for the project, in order to provide live data feeds from the car as it travels at extremely high speeds at and above the speed of sound.

What motivates the BLOODHOUND team is more than just an opportunity to put their names in the record books. Their main goal with the project is to motivate young people around the world to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills, by showing them how these skills can be used to make the impossible, possible – a goal that Sierra Wireless’s IoT technology is helping them realize.

“The primary objective of the BLOODHOUND Project is to inspire the next generation to get involved in science and engineering,” said BLOODHOUND Project Director Richard Noble. “To do that we need to deliver the best possible live footage from the car even as it breaks the sound barrier, and we wouldn’t be able to achieve this without the cutting-edge connected car technology and support from Sierra Wireless.”

The next big step for BLOODHOUND will take place in the second quarter of 2019 when the team will try to reach of the speed of 500mph for the first time on a specially created race track at Hakskeen Pan, South Africa. And thanks to the IoT, not just driver Andy Green, but STEM students and others around the world will be able to see what trying to break the land speed record looks like from the driver’s seat.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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