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Meeting the video recording demands of Bloodhound land speed record car

With Bloodhound SSC’s objective of reaching 1000 mph to smash the current world land speed record, extraordinary demands are being placed on the video system being developed by STEMMER IMAGING to produce and record video data for both engineering and broadcast purposes. The Gecko image recording and compression application from Vision Experts has been specially adapted to meet the demands of this remarkable project. 

Technical Director at Vision Experts, Jason Dale, explains: “The project threw up a number of challenges initially. Firstly data needs to be acquired from up to 12 GigE cameras at HD resolution and every single frame from each camera must be recorded. In addition video had to be compressed in real time to stream to a number of different places, and the video also needed to be time stamped so that it could linked with the engine management system so that individual frames can be related back to specific control events.”  

Mark Williamson, Director – Corporate Market Development at STEMMER IMAGING said: “The Gecko system was a natural fit for the system since it connects to industrial vision cameras using STEMMER IMAGING’s Common Vision Blox imaging toolkit. In addition, by adapting the software, it offers a great deal of flexibility – a significant number of Gecko systems delivered have some level of customization for the application.”   

“For Bloodhound, we rewrote the software for realtime video streaming and compression to encode the video directly to an MJPG format, so that all of the huge volumes of data generated can be recorded to hard disk”, Dale continued. “To solve the digital I/O requirements needed for linking to Bloodhound’s engine management system, we utilised an Adlink EOS embedded vision system equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor. The bespoke codec was tailored to make optimum use of the quad-core i7.”  

For this development phase of the project, three identical vision systems have been built. One is with the Bloodhound team, one is with the STEMMER IMAGING development team and the third with Vision Experts. In this way each new development can be verified on 3 independent systems.  

“The next challenge is with telemetry”, said Dale. “We have shown that we can acquire that volume of data, compress it all to disk and also recompress a feed for the live stream. Now we have to ensure that we have enough bandwidth to allow successful data transmission from a vehicle moving at these speeds. We are about to deliver the latest part of the system to evaluate this. A special relay mast is likely to be required to maintain line of site between Bloodhound and the control centre for the duration of the run.” 


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