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Bloodhound SSC makes first public run at 338km/h

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The Bloodhound Supersonic Car recently reached a milestone when it reached speeds of up to 338km/h on a 2.7km long runway accelerating a rate of 1.5G, reaching 322km/h from a standing start in just 8 seconds.

The Bloodhound Supersonic Car (Bloodhound  SSC), which aims to break the current world land speed record and reach 1600km/h, has reached a major milestone. Last week it successfully completed its first test runs at Cornwall Airport Newquay in the UK.

Bloodhound  SSC, driven by current record holder Wing Commander Andy Green, reached speeds of up to 338km/h on the 2.7km long runway. It accelerated at a rate of 1.5G, reaching 322km/h from a standing start in just 8 seconds.

The event marked the culmination of a month of tests and was the first opportunity to prove the car’s steering, brakes, suspension, data systems and the EJ200 jet engine before the team head to the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa with an iniital target of reaching 1 287 km/h. The team will then go back to the UK to review the data before returning to South Africa with the aim of reaching 1 609 km/h. It would thus be the first land vehicle to reach 1000 miles per hour.

Global database software leader Oracle has provided the technology platform for feeding data from the Bloodhound to an international audience.

Castrol, the chosen oil of the Bloodhound project and a partner since 2014, points out it has a notable heritage in Land Speed Racing, “the original, purest and fastest form of automotive competition”. The world land speed record has been broken 21 times with Castrol as a partner, from Kenelm Lee Guinness’s first record attempt in 1922 at 215km/h to the current record of 1 228km/h, set by Andy Green in Thrust SSC on 15 October 1997.

Bloodhound SSC is powered by an incredible 100 669kW, which is more than six times the total power output of the entire field of starters in Formula One. To achieve this immense power output and the target speed, the project team led by Richard Noble is placing its trust in a jet engine, rocket propulsion and a variety of high-performance lubricants from Castrol. These include their strongest engine oil Castrol Edge Supercar.

“It was great to finally see the car in action today,” said Richard Noble, Bloodhound project director. Bloodhound” SSC is a unique, high-technology project and it is fantastic that we can rely on Castrol’s pioneering technology for all the car’s lubricants. When it comes to the record attempts, we’ve got to get the highest power to weight ratio as we possibly can. We’ve got to get the car as light as we can and yet maintain its strength and Castrol will certainly contribute with their terrific history of record-breaking.”

A.S. Ramchander, VP Marketing, Castrol said, “This partnership gives us the chance to showcase how our high-performance products push the boundaries of performance and we have our sights firmly set on partnering on a 22nd World Land Speed Record.”

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Why sports cars make us feel good

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Forget romance, fine dining or an epic boxset binge – new preliminary research reveals that driving a sports car on a daily basis is among the best ways to boost your sense of wellbeing and emotional fulfilment.

The study measured “buzz moments” – peak thrills that play a vital role in our overall wellness – as volunteers cheered on their favourite football team, watched a gripping Game of Thrones episode, enjoyed a passionate kiss with a loved one or took an intense salsa dancing class. Only the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster ranked higher than the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car.

Working with neuroscientists and designers, Ford brought the research to life with the unique Ford Performance Buzz Car: a customised Ford Focus RS incorporating wearable and artificial intelligence technology to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior. 

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/AFpt6jziFsU

“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.”

Study participants who sat behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS, Focus ST or Mustang experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss. 

For the research, Ford took one Focus RS and worked with Designworks to create the Buzz Car:

From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Each “buzz moment” experienced by the driver – analysed using a real-time “emotional AI” system developed by leading empathic technology firm Sensum – produces a dazzling animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car also features:

  • High-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC
  • 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips
  • 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs

Driver state research

Researchers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany are already looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to drivers’ emotions. As part of the EUfunded ADAS&ME project, Ford experts are investigating how in-car systems may one day be aware of our emotions – as well as levels of stress, distraction and fatigue – providing prompts and warnings, and could even take control of the car in emergency situations.

“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”

Activity Buzz Moments *
Roller Coaster 3
Driving 2.1
Shopping 1.7
Game of Thrones 1.5
Football Game 1.5
Kissing 0
Salsa Dancing 0
Dining 0

* Average number of high-intensity buzz moments per participant

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Car that sees round corners

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Jaguar Land Rover is leading a £4.7 million (approximately R79 million) project to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles.

Britain’s biggest carmaker is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover said: “This project is crucial in order to bring self-driving cars to our customers in the near future. Together with our AutopleX partners, we will merge our connected and autonomous research to empower our self-driving vehicles to operate safely in the most challenging, real-world traffic situations. This project will ensure we deliver the most sophisticated and capable automated driving technology.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands. Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG at the University of Warwick join the AutopleX consortium, which was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

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