Microsoft uses F-104 Starfighter to showcase Windows 10 and IoT

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North American Eagle

There were several announcements made over at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando today. One announcement unveiled by Satya Nadella involved the Cortana Analytics Suite.  This is Microsoft’s latest tool and it brings together technologies like machine learning, big data cloud storage and processing and perceptual intelligence. The combined results of these efforts quickly turn data gathered from IoT sensors into data that makes sense.

Microsoft is using that technology in a new project to show case the power it can deliver. The “North American Eagle” project is an attempt to break a world land speed record set in 1997 by a British team in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. To break this record Jessi Combs, the driver, will have to go faster than 763 mph. As it says on their Kickstarter page, speeds like this will cost in the region of $500,000.

An F-104 Lockheed Starfighter is a supersonic US military jet. The “North American Eagle” team has converted one of those planes into a jet powered, three-wheeled car. Director of IT and Marketing, Brandyn Bayes joined Nadella on stage in Orlando today at WPC 2015 to discuss its the usage of the retrofitted Starfighter. On stage Bayes explained that the car was packed with 30 IoT sensors that were sending back “12 million points of data” to the team in real time. Using the Microsoft cloud, the data was processed at 2000 measurements a second. The result was a huge increase in speed and gave the team an advantage over previous land-based speed record attempts.

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

The North American Eagle team is going to be making several test runs that will gradually ramp up the speed to the actual record attempt at the end of September. Combs became the fastest woman in the world on four wheels in 2013. However, if the team manages to break the record, she will become the fastest person on earth.

Projects like these are an excellent way of showing how Microsoft’s technology can be used to do real and useful things. The current land speed record holders will be most likely watching this next record breaking attempt very closely.