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Budding engineers to get live Bloodhound sensor data during high-speed desert runs

Professional Engineering

The Bloodhound LSR car will share data from hundreds of sensors as it is driven at high speeds (Credit: Bloodhound LSR)
The Bloodhound LSR car will share data from hundreds of sensors as it is driven at high speeds (Credit: Bloodhound LSR)

Budding engineers will be able to track and analyse the performance of what could be the world’s fastest car as it “dices with physics” in the South African desert.

The Bloodhound Land Speed Record (LSR) vehicle will share a live video stream and data from hundreds of sensors as it runs on the dry lake bed track of Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape. The project’s engineers will test the data distribution system when the car runs on its specially prepared track for the first time this October, ahead of planned record attempts in late 2020.

“This world land speed record campaign is unlike any other, with the opportunities opened up by digital technology that enabled the team to test the car’s design using computational fluid dynamics and that will allow us to gather and share data about the car’s performance in real time,” said CEO Ian Warhurst, who stepped in to buy the car after the project went into administration last year.

Data-sharing from the car’s hundreds of sensors will contribute to the project’s fundamental goal of promoting and encouraging engineering to the next generation. After tests at Cornwall Airport in Newquay, driver Andy Green told Professional Engineering that the “feedback was universally astonishing” and the project had already inspired thousands of young people.

Warhurst added: “In addition, we’re running the car on a brand-new surface. The wheels have been designed specifically for this desert lake bed, but it will still be vital to test them at high speeds before making record speed runs.”

Since relaunching in March, the project has focused on the logistics of deployment in the Kalahari Desert and conversion of the car from its Newquay testing specifications. Upgrades for high-speed testing include uprating springs and dampers, adding the parachute braking system, more air pressure and load sensors and a fire detection and suppression system.

The team hopes the car, driven by current land speed world record holder and RAF pilot Andy Green, will reach 800km/h (500mph) in the October tests after hitting 320km/h at Cornwall Airport in Newquay in October 2017. Backers hope it will go faster than 1,609km/h (1,000mph).


Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
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