Racing Boat Computer Endures Extreme Conditions with Waterproof and Rugged Design

In this article:

  1. Our Client
  2. The Demands of The Application
  3. Our Solution

Our Client

Our client, a prominent British Boat Racing team, has launched their first test boat, designed and built in collaboration with a well-known company’s Applied Science Division.

The test boat will play a vital role in the team’s programme through to the boat’s next notable race of importance.  Work will begin with an extensive testing period, primarily aimed at validating the team’s design tools and testing key components ahead of the deadline to start the build of the team’s race boat.

The test boat will operate with live test data. Results will be streamed back to the design, engineering and performance teams at their UK headquarters, where work is already underway on the research and design of what will become the team’s boat enabling the design team to validate their design tools and have more confidence in them, as they go into designing the critical components for the race boat.

They have a long list of tow tests they want to do to validate the information from their design tools. The best way to do that is without the variability in the wind, as they do not want unknown aerodynamic influence on what is being measured. The wind at different heights in a rig is hard to measure and, therefore, to model accurately. Hence, they want to take that uncertainty out of the initial testing program with the test boat to be more accurate in the collected performance data and in validating the design tools with that data.

The validation of these tools is vital at the testing stage. In recent years, a big step in simulation tools has been made, enabling teams to try more variations of design philosophy and options than ever before.  However, a team has to have strong confidence in those simulation tools and trust that they’re giving accurate feedback.  All teams know this and do their best to create the most accurate tools to help them design the fastest boat.

Almost all that work happens on a computer installed on the test vessel.  Computational power has increased, methods have evolved, and tasks that once took several days can now be completed in hours. This can lead to a convergence of results, as teams use the same optimisation programs, making human creativity even more critical. The competitive edge is outside of what computers study, often at the interface between different fields of science, where there is uncertainty, an inspiration for the team to think ahead of the curve and search for solutions where some people may stop looking. The computer will help the team to investigate such things as stress distributions when the loads change rapidly or during manoeuvres.  It also allows for experimentation with new materials.

These racing boats are the fastest and most complex in the world.

Previous years’ entries have shown, by trading-off one parameter against another, a minuscule increase in performance can mean the difference between winning or losing a race.

The Demands of The Application

When it comes to competitive racing, having reliable and durable equipment is essential. As racing boats are subject to harsh conditions, from the pounding waves and saltwater spray to extreme temperatures and humidity, a team has to ensure that their onboard technology can withstand these challenging conditions, many sailing teams turn to rugged waterproof computers.

As racing boats can experience extreme conditions over extended periods, these specialised computers are designed to function in environments that would be too harsh for standard electronics, housed in tough, waterproof cases and with reinforced components that can withstand impacts, vibrations and temperature changes.

Racing boats can be soaked with water during heavy rain, or splashed with saltwater as they crest waves.

One key advantage of rugged waterproof computers is their ability to withstand exposure to water. Ordinary computers would be quickly damaged under these conditions, but rugged waterproof computers are built to keep functioning despite exposure to water.

Racing boats are subject to significant jolts and vibrations as they sail through rough waters, which can cause regular computers to malfunction or even break down, bringing to the fore another key advantage of these computers; their durability. Rugged waterproof computers are built to withstand these shocks, thanks to components such as solid-state hard drives and reinforced screens.

Looking towards our range of waterproof rugged computers, an almost immediate stand-out candidate came to mind as a viable option for the application whilst offering full protection in the environment it would be operating within.

Our Solution

The SEMIL-1708 is an extremely rugged 2U half-rack computer with an IP67-rated waterproof and dustproof design. Powered by Intel Xeon E or 9th/ 8th-Gen Core CPU and coupled with workstation-grade Intel C246 chipset, it can support up to 64 GB ECC/ non-ECC DDR4 memory.

The SEMIL-1708 incorporates Neousys’ best-in-class thermal design and offers mounting flexibility where you can wall or rack-mount up to two SEMILs side by side, adopting a corrosion-proof chassis made of stainless steel and aluminium to counteract moisture and salinity.

A variety of I/O connectivity that utilize M12 connectors to guarantee extremely rugged connections in shock and vibration environments, are on offer and it has up to eight 802.3at PoE+ ports to supply 25W of power to connected devices.

When it comes to internal expansion, it has an M.2 M-key socket to support NVMe SSD and mini-PCIe sockets for extending feature sets. Additionally, the SEMIL-1708 features two 2.5″ SATA SDD/ HDD accommodations, 8-48V wide-range DC input, which means any fluctuation in power will not adversely affect the unit or the data it receives.

It also has ignition power control and complies with MIL-STD-810G (Military Certified) and EN50155 (which means it is also certified to work on trains).

Furthermore, it is equipped with Neousys’ innovative SuperCAP-based UPS* containing 2500 watt-second stored energy to sustain or safely shut down the system during unforeseen power outages.

As the SEMIL-1708 is protected against water, dust, high/low temperature (wide-temperature), shock/vibration and power interruption, making it ideal for this application, as the test boat will be subjected to such as rough seas caused by weather conditions or indeed during simulated race conditions.  The test boat could also capsize causing heavy vibrations or indeed take on water at any time.

Neousys’ SEMIL-1700 series is set to redefine edge application computing, where ruggedness matter.