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IoT Blog

Sierra Wireless LTE Technology Puts Students in Front Seat of Fastest Car on Earth

When the Thrust supersonic car (SSC) broke the sound barrier in 1997, students all over the world gathered around televisions to watch the historic feat. A new car, the BLOODHOUND SSC aims to push it even faster, with the goal of surpassing 1,000mph (1,600 km/h), and LTE technology from Sierra Wireless will put students right in BLOODHOUND’s front seat.

Thrust SSC Makes History
Twenty years ago, BLOODHOUND driver Andy Green set the current land speed record of 763mph in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. The first land vehicle to break the sound barrier, Thrust pushed the boundaries of science and engineering. Powered by technology used mostly for military applications, such as Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, Thrust is still officially the fastest car on earth.

The Thrust project did more than just break the sound barrier, though. As developer Richard Noble intended, it caught the attention of a whole generation of students, encouraging them to stop and think about the role that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can play in our lives. Today, some of those students are scientists and engineers—and the fastest car on earth hasn’t stopped inspiring. Every year nearly half a million people come to see Thrust at the Coventry Transport Museum in England.

But a lot has changed in twenty years. From broadband internet to connected cars, technology has progressed at a pace almost as fast as the Thrust. The time has come to set new records.

Blog CTA - Fastest Connected Car

The BLOODHOUND Project Aims to Make History Again Green will challenge his own land speed record this year in South Africa, behind the wheel of the BLOODHOUND SSC. If all goes well, BLOODHOUND will become the first land vehicle to travel at four-digit speeds. The car will, again, utilize military technology—like the Eurojet EJ200 engine and Nammo rockets—to travel faster than a bullet. It’s technology that Green, a British Royal Airforce fighter pilot, already has experience with.

The engineers behind the BLOODHOUND Project also want to include students in the experience as much as possible. In 1997, that meant filming the Thrust’s ride and broadcasting it on television. Today’s wireless technology will enable live video streaming from the BLOODHOUND driver’s seat as the record attempt happens, available to anyone with an Internet connection.

And this is where Sierra Wireless comes in. Our AirPrime LTE embedded modules and AirLink gateways provide state-of-the-art wireless connectivity to the car. In order to provide live data feeds from the car as it travels at extremely high speeds at and above the speed of sound, a custom LTE/4G wireless network was created for the project.

Innovative Connectivity for the BLOODHOUND Challenge

Sierra Wireless’ AirPrime automotive modules connect in-car devices, like navigation systems, to the cloud. This lets the vehicle share information like its current location and destination via digital maps. The BLOODHOUND will also use an AirLink gateway, a rugged internet router built to withstand the bumps and jolts of vehicle use. Even though the Hakskeen Pan in Northern Cape, South Africa, where BLOODHOUND will make its attempt, is relatively smooth, it’s still officially off-road. Also, as BLOODHOUND’s developers would tell you, at 1,000 mph there is no such thing as a small bump.

And much like the commercial systems that Sierra Wireless builds for connected cars, the BLOODHOUND network isn’t just for live streaming (although that’s an important part of its role). The network also sends and receives critical telemetry data that will support the vehicle’s operations during its attempt.

We are excited to share the BLOODHOUND experience through the live stream as well as in person.. This February, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visitors of all ages had the opportunity to drive the BLOODHOUND SSC simulator at our booth and got a feeling for what it’s like to sit in the driver’s seat of the fastest car on earth.

We hope that, whether young people watch the BLOODHOUND attempt on a computer at school or get the chance to actually “drive” the BLOODHOUND simulator, the experience will inspire them to consider education and careers in STEM. There are so many ways that technology can break barriers.