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Meeting the video recording demands of Bloodhound SSC

11 January 2015

With Bloodhound SSC’s objective of reaching 1000 mph to smash the current world land speed record, extraordinary demands are being placed on the system that will be required to produce and record video data for both engineering and broadcast purposes.

Image courtesy of BLOODHOUND SSC

The Gecko image recording and compression application from Vision Experts has been specially adapted to meet the demands of this remarkable project, as Vision Experts' technical director, Jason Dale explains:

“The project threw up a number of challenges initially. Firstly, data needs to be acquired from up to twelve 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 be linked with the engine management system, thus allowing individual frames to be related back to specific control events.

“For Bloodhound, we rewrote the software for real-time 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. 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.”

Stemmer Imaging director, Mark Williamson believes Gecko was a natural fit for the system since it connects to industrial vision cameras using Stemmer’s Common Vision Blox imaging toolkit. In addition, by adapting the software, it offers a great deal of flexibility; according to Williamson, a significant number of Gecko systems delivered to date have some level of customisation for the application.

For this development phase of the Bloodhound video project, three identical vision systems have been built. One is with the Bloodhound team, one is with Stemmer's development team and the third with Vision Experts. In this way each new development can be verified on three independent systems. Jason Dale again: 

“The next challenge is with telemetry. We have shown that we can acquire that volume of data, compress it all to disk and also re-compress 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, and 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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