Sunday 1 December 2013

Highspeed cameras for high speed attempt!

Stemmer has delivered a four camera system for testing on Bloodhound as the engineering team continues to develop the vehicle for its world land speed record attempt. The camera system is one of several that are planned in total and will initially be used in conjunction with other engineering sensors to observe what is happening around the vehicle during testing. These trials will also enable an evaluation to be made of the optimum placement of the cameras in the chassis.

The system features four colour GigE cameras that are all streaming HD resolution colour video in real time to a rugged and compact Adlink EOS embedded vision system equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor. The four independent Gigabit Ethernet ports can provide data transfer rates up to 4.0 Gb/s. In order to deal with the high volume of data generated, a custom version of the Vision Experts’ Gecko recording software has been developed to perform the real-time video compression.
Pic: Siemens NX

Gecko automatically starts up when the system is powered up, connects to the cameras and starts recording video from the cameras to video files. Video is encoded directly to an MJPG format rather than using standard AVI to give improved speed and reliability. The MJPG compressor has been written to make use the quad-core i7 to enhance throughput and to be fault tolerant. In the event of a power failure or an unexpected mid-stream hardware failure, the video remains intact.

The system also provides for some digital output signals from the embedded PC to be integrated with the rest of the Bloodhound management system. This allows video recording to be started and stopped with the engine and provides sync signals from the video to the rest of the engine system, as well as providing digital status and fault lines.

The next phase of the system may involve even smaller cameras since some positions on the vehicle, such as the wing-tips, are very tight on space. In addition, high speed cameras may be used to provide more engineering information.

What is Bloodhound?
Bloodhound SSC is a jet and rocket powered car designed to go at 1,000 mph (just over 1,600 kph). It has a slender body of approximately 14m length with two front wheels within the body and two rear wheels mounted externally within wheel fairings. It weighs over 7 tonnes and the engines produce more than 135,000 horsepower - more than 6 times the power of all the Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together!

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