UWE students' BLOODHOUND SSC test rig at Design Museum

Issue date: 11 November 2009

Bloodhound SSC Ergonomics – Real Design at the Design Museum 18 November 2009 to March 2010

Product Design students from the University of the West of England who helped to design the ergonomics for the cockpit rig that will be used in the development of what is planned to be the world's fastest car, BLOODHOUND SSC, will have their work prominently featured in a forthcoming exhibition at the Design Museum in London.

The BLOODHOUND SSC project was initiated by the government to encourage school children and youngsters to study and embark upon careers in technology and design. The project aims to design, build and run a car to raise the world land speed record – and use the challenges this poses to raise the enthusiasm, interest and engagement of the next generation of professional designers and engineers.

The exhibition 'Ergonomics – Real Design' at the Design Museum is being organised by a team of researchers from the Human Centred Design Institute at Brunel University and Loughborough University in association with the Ergonomics Society. Funding from the EPSRC under the Partnerships for Public Engagement (PPE) award.

The exhibition will run from 18 November 2009 until 7 March 2010 in the North Gallery at the Design Museum.

The UWE students' exhibit will include the ergonomic test rig and storyboards showing the process behind its development and the fitting of the rig to the driver Andy Green. UWE is a founder sponsor of the BLOODHOUND SSC Project led by Richard Noble, a previous world land speed record holder. UWE is leading the university level engagement with the BLOODHOUND SSC Project and is working to develop materials and case studies for use by university academics along with partner universities.

Hywel Vaughan was one of the students on the team who worked on the cockpit rig design. He is now working on placement with the BLOODHOUND SSC design team who have been based at UWE for over a year.

Hywel said, “We're all thrilled that our work for BLOODHOUND SSC will be on show at the Design Museum. The cockpit rig is essentially designed to evaluate the driver's position in a given envelope of space; to ensure that all the key components such as steering wheel, controls, seating and pedals are in the optimum position for driver use and safety.

“The measurements had to fit the driver Andy Green precisely, giving him flexibility within the space allocated for the rig. We had to be exceptionally accurate in the fitting of the cockpit. As an example; the angle needed for maximum driver visibility was exactly 4 degrees from horizontal, so the positioning of each component needed to fit in with this requirement. We needed to be sure that he could see over the front of the car without interfering with the aerodynamics. We had a long consultation process followed by making measurements and used the data to build the test rig. The test rig will enable fine adjustments to the position and the relationship of all components; ensuring the cockpit functions as it should do at such high speeds.

“Our test rig is actually being used by the BLOODHOUND SSC design team – it's really exciting to have been given the chance to work on the car that is going for the world land speed record.

“Having the BLOODHOUND SSC design team at UWE has given all of us a once in a lifetime opportunity to work on what has to be the most exciting engineering project in the world right now. It's great that the rig will get shown at the exhibition; there are few students who have been as lucky as those of us that selected the UWE Product Design course to get such a mind blowing opportunity. For me – it has lead on to even better things as I'm now on placement with the BLOODHOUND SSC Design team.”

David Henshall, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at UWE lead the BLOODHOUND SSC test rig project with the students, he said, “The challenge for the students was to consider the performance and ergonomics of the driver's position for a unique event that will take the driver across ten miles in 85 seconds. The team of students who worked on the BLOODHOUND SSC test rig have really stepped up to the mark and we're proud of their achievement.”

Product Design Senior Lecturer Drew Batchelor, said, “This is a fantastic, once in a lifetime opportunity for the students involved, both the excitement surrounding the BLOODHOUND SSC Project and exhibiting in the Design Museum.

“The teaching team have been impressed by the student team, their dedication and the quality of their work was of a highly professional standard. This experience will be very impressive in their portfolios and invaluable when they seek employment in relevant fields after leaving UWE.”

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