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Open Source Transportation United Kingdom Technology

Record-Seeking Bloodhound SSC Goes Partially Open Source 64

Posted by timothy
from the alert-homer-simpson dept.
jd writes "I've been monitoring the progress of Bloodhound SSC (the car aiming for the 1,000 MPH record) and it looks like they're opting for some interesting tactics. In April, the car itself went partially open source, with a complete set of schematics and specifications and an invite for engineering bugfixes. According to them, it's the first time a racing team has done this. Sounds likely enough. The latest patches to be released were a tripling in fin size and a switch to steel brakes because carbon fibre would explode."
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Record-Seeking Bloodhound SSC Goes Partially Open Source

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    These extreme speed vehicles always seemed to me more like an airplane that flies really low and has wheels.

    • Exactly! They should stop calling it a car once they have to strap a jet engine to the back of it, that is until I see cars with jet engines driving down the highway while I am driving to work.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You can buy a production jet powered motorcycle. So I think your qualifications are a little too narrow.

        http://www.marineturbine.com/motorcycles.asp

        • I think the distinction he was trying to make is vehicles where the engine creates thrust that pushes the body of the vehicle, vs wheel-driven vehicles. The turbine in that bike drives the rear wheel..

          Most modern tanks have turbine engines too.

      • by ScentCone (795499)
        Batmobile, fool.
      • Jay Leno owns and drives three street legal vehicles: Motorcycle, Car, and a Pick-up truck, Although I'm not sure the car is on the road yet. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/jay-leno/4200831 [popularmechanics.com]
      • Re:what is a "car"? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Muros (1167213) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @11:43AM (#36569224)
        No they shouldn't. "Car" is an abbrieviated form of the word carriage, which is a wheeled transport device. The power source for motion is not a part of that definition, and I would argue that the difference between a jet engine and a standard modern petrol or diesel combustion engine is smaller than the difference between either of those normal modern engines and a horse.
    • by Jawnn (445279)
      Split hairs if you like, but it does not fly. It rolls. That, by definition, takes it out of the realm of "aircraft" and places it firmly into the group of vehicles that roll along the ground and are controlled (steered) by their wheels. In other words, cars.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This an early alpha which is prone to crashing; it is not recommended for production use.

    • by Muros (1167213)
      I'd imagine anything travelling at 1000mph is prone to crashing.
      • Is this car tripulated? In that case debug after a crash may require forensics, thats how bad ass it is.

        On a serious note, Open Source may have born as a software thing but I hope the same principles and philosophy to be successfully applied to other areas of human knowledge. An open source piece of software may be used by millions but an open source designed bridge (as in bridge in isolated area in a developing nation on a geological tricky zone) being used by fewer people can actually make a tangible diff

        • by geniice (1336589)

          That's pretty much what the patent system does. However bridge designs for anything halfway normal have long since been standardised with designed published. There's even a book bridge designs for boy scouts floating around somewhere.

          • Well, the bridge was an example, but open sourcing other areas e.g. DIY water treatment plants can make an impact being open source and all. My point is that Open Source philosophy is something thats really underrated by the masses because it mostly applies to the IT world, if you can translate that free/free to the tangible world you can have a real OS revolution.

            This is the village bridge, is was engineered by people around the globe, and it's so efficient in the use of resources that the government and contractors couldn't steal more than the 1% of the whole cost.

            Not every problem is a technical problem, human nature needs no spec.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            There's even a book bridge designs for boy scouts floating around somewhere.

            I'd sure like some more information on this.

  • Not being familiar with this story, I thought perhaps you meant 1,000 MPG - then I RTFA'd. I hope that thing is fly-by-wire with a really smart auto eject seat. The usefulness of a mach 1 car is not clear to me. A 1,000 MPG car would be more productive to aim for (wether possible or not). X-prize maybe?
    • by wjcofkc (964165)
      This is why it sounded familiar.
      http://slashdot.org/submission/1670400/11-Year-Old-Pilots-1325-MPG-Concept-Car
    • Re:1,000 MPH?....! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MachDelta (704883) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @11:27AM (#36569046)

      Supersonic cars might not seem practical, but they do pose some important questions about supersonic aerodynamics at ground level (shock front + ground effect = sudden lift) and materials science (wheels, brakes, etc). These are questions we don't really have solid answers to yet, and one day they may prove useful in something more practical, like maybe a supersonic bullet train.
      Mostly though, this is just one of those "where no man has gone before" things that people love to do. Ultimately, it's the same rational behind "first post!"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You know, I don't see the usefulness of art museums, or yachts.

      ITS FOR FUN JACKASS.

      It doesn't have to have a greater purpose.

  • Instead of "Open Source" for these sorts of things. Open Source makes me think of Source code, and not 'whats under the hood'

    "Open Schematics" ?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't really get this "Open Source" thing. Could somebody help explain with a car analogy? That usually helps.

    • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Saturday June 25, 2011 @11:27AM (#36569042) Homepage

      Well, the car is jet-powered. As you may know, jet engines require large amount of air to operate, that's why they work better at higher speeds, and don't work at all outside the atmosphere.

      To get this large amount of air into the engine, you need to keep the front side of the engine open. It's not hard to imagine that the more open the front side is, the more air will get in, and the more efficient the engine will be.

      So, for years, engineers (you know, people who build engines) have tried to build jet engines to be as open as possible. Traditionally, this was only limited to the literal sense of the word "open". However, in recent years, when the word "literally" also begun to mean "not literally", they started exploring other, less literal ways to make the engines more open. So when jet engine engineers heard talk about Open Source, they thought it's about making the air source more open. And here we are now, with jet-engine-builders trying to get more into their engines by using open source.

  • by starseeker (141897) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @11:08AM (#36568840) Homepage

    "All data provided by BLOODHOUND Programme Limited is proprietary to BLOODHOUND Programme Limited. All such data shall only be used for the purposes of education and shall not be used by any party for commercial gain."

    The files are AVAILABLE, but that doesn't make them open source. There's an important distinction. Unless I'm missing it, they don't have any standard license (Creative Commons or otherwise) attached to it right now and they don't sound like they're going to encourage people to use this data as a basis for their own projects. If you can't "fork" the car design and work on your own car it's a bit tough to call it open source.

    That said, this does look pretty cool and the educational aspects of it are legit enough (also would make a good set of test files for any open source project planning to support that JT file format.)

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The files are AVAILABLE, but that doesn't make them open source. There's an important distinction.

      No, there is NOT an important distinction. Open means specifications are available for the purpose of interoperability or just study, period, the end, Bruce Perens' and the OSI's attempts to redefine the word "open" notwithstanding. This is specifically why we needed the term "Free" for software; open was already taken and it already meant something. The oldest recorded use of the word was for Caldera OpenDOS, where it meant something closer to a "shared source" license. Anyone could get the source but ther

      • by Raenex (947668)

        This is specifically why we needed the term "Free" for software; open was already taken and it already meant something. [..] No, you can't call it Free, although you can call the plans free.

        That's bullshit. Look at the definition [gnu.org] for "free software". Do you see any capitalization of "free software" outside of grammatical usage like titles or beginnings of sentences?

        Free was already in wide use as "free as in no price", a point of much debate in choosing a name for "free as in freedom" software, and a source of constant confusion for people not familiar with the movement.

        "Open source" was not in wide use at all except for in the intelligence community. "Open" vs proprietary never had a precise

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The term "open source" was defined and promoted into wide usage by the OSI, and then co-opted by people who wanted to get on the bandwagon.

          The term "open source" is first used in print by Caldera for OpenDOS. I could give a fuck if the OSI promoted it into wide usage. I and others were using the term before the OSI existed. I had a bunch of friends at SCO which was using the term even before that.

          If you can't fork it, it's not open source. Period.

          Congratulations on sucking Bruce off most consistently.

          • by Raenex (947668)

            The term "open source" is first used in print by Caldera for OpenDOS. I could give a fuck if the OSI promoted it into wide usage.

            And "free software" was in use before FSF came around, which you conveniently ignore. Who gives a fuck about some abandoned OpenDOS project that was quickly reverted to closed source? Their "open source" announcement appealed to the success of the Linux model, but Linux was "open source" under FOSS model, which contributed greatly to its success.

            Congratulations on sucking Bruce off most consistently.

            Congratulations on being a total douche bag.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Who gives a fuck about some abandoned OpenDOS project that was quickly reverted to closed source?

              Anyone trying to actually figure out who coined the term and thus who has a right to define it. Which is not the OSI.

              Congratulations on being a total douche bag.

              If that's what it's called when you insist on being correct instead of being a fanboy, then I guess I'm a douche bag. Good thing I'm here, because you stink.

              • by Raenex (947668)

                Anyone trying to actually figure out who coined the term and thus who has a right to define it. Which is not the OSI.

                An issue which you completely ignore for free software. This is the second straight reply you've done this. Also, just because a term was used in a minor fashion doesn't mean it can't take on a different meaning.

                If that's what it's called when you insist on being correct instead of being a fanboy, then I guess I'm a douche bag.

                That's what you are when you resort to ad hominem attacks.

    • You're confusing "open source" with "free/libre/free-as-in-freedom/Free."

      "Open source" encompasses many things, and one of the things that falls under its umbrella is "source that is available to view."

      • by jd (1658)

        Exactly. There's many a license that is generally accepted (even by the OSI) as Open Source that doesn't permit free-as-in-freedom usage. Parallel to that, academia has long considered the contents of the articles to be "open" (ie: there's no restriction on knowledge, there's no restriction on copying, etc) but not "free" (ie: you can't plagarize - ie: produce a fork of - a research paper). If there's a definition of "open source", then the academic one is the one that is the most universal.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For every person not using obscure units: 1000 MPH = 1 609.344 km/h

  • No fly-by-wire? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iteyoidar (972700) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @11:48AM (#36569276)
    From the car's website [bloodhoundssc.com]:

    "How about automated steering, or some kind of ‘fly-by-wire’ computer stabilisation? No – the rules do not allow it, and quite right too in my opinion. In order to be a land vehicle in LSR terms, the FIA rules require that the vehicle is ‘wholly and continuously controlled by the driver’. Even if the rules did allow for a computer system, should we really be running a car that needs a computer (which will be untested in this prototype vehicle) to keep it safe?"

    Kind of crazy that a team developing an open-source supersonic car is afraid of using computer control assistance methods that have been around for decades!

    • Maybe they like to KISS

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No-one has been developing control software for cars. Not even supersonic sea-skimming missiles have to contend with their own shockwave, reflected off the water. This is a "flight" regime no-one has any experience with, a leap into the unknown. I can see why you wouldn't like to add complexity, in the form of computer control. The physics are complex enough as it is.

      • by jd (1658)

        Very much so. When the team ran Thrust SSC, the supersonic shockwave was actaly etched into the landscape itself. The understanding of physics in

        I've wondered why there's actually so much emphasis in the current design on ground-effect rather than opting for a waverider design. In aircraft, a waverider sits on the shockwave. My understanding is that this produces a much gentler experience for the aircraft with greatly reduced turbulence. Logically, since the reflection does cause extensive damage (as demons

    • Last I checked most if not all race cars and motorcycles were also "fly-by-human", a lot of the anti-this and control-that we have on commercial cars are so unskilled or inattentive operators can get decent results, not to improve the results of experts.
    • by Skynyrd (25155)

      In order to be a land vehicle in LSR terms, the FIA rules require that the vehicle is ‘wholly and continuously controlled by the driver’.

      Kind of crazy that a team developing an open-source supersonic car is afraid of using computer control assistance methods that have been around for decades!

      Well, since they are trying to set a record, and the sanctioning body (FIA) says "human control only" for steering, then that's what they will do. Fear isn't part of the equation

      There's many, many things that might make the car faster, or better, or whatever. Teams read the rule book, and try and find the "you can't do XXX" sections. Doing XXX will invalidate the race/record.

      Every record that is set - number of hotdogs eaten in 20 minutes, largest weight bench pressed, fastest bicycle from LA to NY - has an

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