Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Speedboats race with the cloud

Sharon Gaudin | Oct. 29, 2014
SilverHook Powerboats uses a private cloud to analyze and visualize racing data in real-time -- at 140 miles an hour.

Cloud computing circuits
Credit: Thinkstock

The founder of a powerboat racing business is looking to use the cloud to track the company boat's performance during offshore races and keep fans and racing officials updated with animated race visualizations.

"It really pushes the envelope..., being able to develop [a cloud technology] quickly and having a robustness of coverage during an event," said Nigel Hook, co-founder and president of San Diego-based SilverHook Powerboats. "We want to do things that would not be possible without the cloud."

SilverHook Powerboats sells and races high-performance boats. Starting Nov. 5, it will run its first test of its new cloud system during the 34th Annual Key West World Championships. A prototype will run live during the races scheduled for Nov. 5, 7 and 9.

The system, which will only be working for the one SilverHook boat, is set up to transmit real-time information, ranging from GPS positioning to engine performance data, oil pressure, fuel pressure, horsepower and acceleration metrics. That data will be collected and analyzed in a private cloud that IBM helped SilverHook set up so the team's crew chief can access the information during the race and give the crew better instructions.

If all goes as planned, many, if not all, the boats in a race will at some point transmit data to the cloud -- and all of the racing teams, race officials and fans will have access to information about boat performance, speeds and even ocean conditions.

"We're out in the ocean in this brutal environment," Hook said in an interview. " "We're up to 6.9 Gs in a race. There's the salt water. The wind. You're flying in six-foot seas. What makes it tough for the people in the boat is when you're taking that kind of impact, it's very tough to read the gauges in front of you. That's where it's very important for us to have all the data transmitted up into the cloud so the crew chief can see if there's a problem, like with an engine, that we can respond to."

And in a sport that takes place sometimes miles offshore, real-time animations of the race would let fans feel closer to what's happening and follow their favorite boat or driver.

"If the other boats in the race were doing the same, then all of their data and our data is in the cloud and then you have a rich set of data to share with the fans," explained Hook. "That brings them much closer into what is going on. Even if a camera is not on you, a fan could visualize the data coming out based on speed and GPS position and G forces. Those are just numbers, but if we could take that information and show an animated picture on the computer, a fan could see what's happening without just seeing a scroll of numbers."


1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.