Bloodhound aims to reach 500mph in South Africa next year

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The Bloodhound Project has announced its plans to run its first test in South Africa next year.

The Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) will run in October or November 2018 in Hakskeen Pan in South Africa. The vehicle is aiming to reach 500mph which the project calls a "key milestone on the journey to setting a new world land speed record".

The Bloodhound project is aiming to reach a new world land speed record of 1,000mph and has been working on this objective since 2008.

It held successful tests in Newquay in October 2017 when the car ran for the first time at speeds of over 200mph.

"Now it is time to go faster...much faster!," the project said.

Bloodhound aims to reach 500mph and gain valuable insights into the car's high-speed aerodynamic performance and handling.

"It will also be the first chance to use Bloodhound's desert wheels and braking parachutes," said Bloodhound.

It added that since the event has so many variables there isn't a final confirmation date of when the test will take place.

"This is the next stage in Bloodhound's journey, and Oracle will be providing the technology that will help the car reach the next milestone," said John Abel, Oracle VP of technology and cloud in the UK, Ireland and Israel. "We'll also be working with the team to help make sure that the data generated from the car in reaching 500mph is given to schools across the globe to excite students and teachers alike and bring them on the journey as we look to break the boundaries of human ingenuity."

Bloodhound has joined forces with Oracle (see below) to collect data from over 500 sensors on the 135,000 horsepower Bloodhound SSC. It will share the data with classrooms around the world in order to promote STEM and allow teachers to build data-driven projects around it.

26/07/2017: Bloodhound promotes STEM with Oracle in land speed record attempt

The former holder of the land speed record hopes to inspire thousands of children to study STEM subjects as he prepares for his latest attempt to break the record.

Richard Noble OBE, who held the land speed record between 1983 and 1997, is now director of the Bloodhound project, in which he hopes to help the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) surpass the current top speed of 763mph in 2019, aiming to hit between 800mph and 1,000mph.

He told Cloud Pro that he considers the project to also be Britain's largest STEM programme, having visited 129,000 schoolchildren to tell them about how the car works last year.

Developing STEM skills is a vital step in closing the UK's widening skills gap, which is estimated to result in 142,000 job vacancies by 2023, according to research from EDF Energy and the Social Market Foundation. But when Noble spoke to the teachers whose classrooms he visited about how to encourage take-up, they admitted that they struggled to engage pupils in the subjects.

To make the prospect more exciting to children, teachers asked Noble if he could share the data from the Bloodhound car with their pupils, "so they could study the data, link up the different streams of it, predict how the car's going, follow all the engineers and actually be a part of it", he said.

As a result, Noble's team has joined forces with Oracle to collect data from more than 500 sensors on the 135,000 horsepower Bloodhound SSC, sharing it with classrooms around the world to allow teachers to build data-driven projects around it.

Bloodhound engineers will also use the data in order to fine tune the SSC for its record-breaking attempt.

Noble blamed a lack of inspiration for low STEM subject take-up, after the British Computing Society predicted the number of computing students will halve by 2020.

"Way back in the '50s and '60s we were in the middle of the Cold War, you had these amazing aerospace projects like for instance the Vulcan bomber and the Concorde," said Noble. He explained how children were constantly witnessing these innovations through the media, but claimed that nowadays that happens less on a grand scale.

By providing data on the Bloodhound car, Noble hopes this will change somewhat.

"I think its got real potential of changing education worldwide on an enormous scale," he said, adding that Formula One teams don't open up this kind of data due to their intense competition, so "nobody can really do this, except us".

John Abel, Oracle's Bloodhound project lead and head of technology and cloud for Oracle UK & Ireland, said that from an industry perspective it was very important to grow the future talent pool. "When we were talking to executives in the US we realised that a data company needs to be part of the biggest data project globally, that's freely available for students," he added.

Consequently, Oracle will make the data freely available for anybody in any country in the world to use. "We're creating a framework for them to absorb into their own educational systems," Abel explained. "If one more engineer, computer scientist or technologist comes out of the back end of this, then our job is done."

Bloodhound will have its first 200mph test in October in Newquay, Cornwall, before its first 800mph test takes place in late 2018 in South Africa.

Originally Noble wanted to return to the Black Rock desert in Nevada, where he broke the sound barrier in 1997, but the desert is now being used for leisure purposes such as the Burning Man festival. From the test in South Africa, they will use the data from the car to fine tune it for the real thing which they hope to carry out in 2019.

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.