Written by Mark Barnard.

Since its inception back in 1993, IBM ‘Messaging’ in one form or another has never really been far from my working world. I started as a Graduate back then and was promptly sent to Paris for a trade fair where having had a few months getting to know messaging and what it was and what it did, found myself preaching the virtues of what IBM does and what its messaging software can do. Almost quarter of a century later I am still here and very much so is IBM Messaging, stronger than ever and a key part of the global fabric that makes up much of our messaging industry today.

As well as software engineering being a passion and my career, I have always tinkered with old cars and bikes and mechanical engineering has been a hobby. In recent years I have spend more time working with the old cars and came up with an interesting twist. What If we combined a 1930’s vintage Riley sports car with IBM’s most modern IoT & Messaging software, along with some electronic sensory equipment?


Architecture of the on board hardware, messaging and cloud based IBM software

Earlier this year, we sent a probe to the very edge of space, 20 miles straight up, and using all manner of electronic wizardry, IBM software and a little luck, we transmitted back pictures and data back from a hostile and almost weightless world. We learned a lot from this venture and it got me thinking.


Mark in the seat of ‘the other car’ a 1940’s Allard Speedster designing the bodywork

In September 2015 I’ll be taking the Riley along with a friend from the UK, down through France and on into Spain, taking in a number of peaks in the Pyrenees, from as far North as San Sebastien right down to Andorra, moving between the French and Spanish border as we go. The tour is called ‘Tour des Cols’ its a group of like minded folks driving all manner of wild machines. The criteria being, it must be roofless and old! Over a 10 day period, the idea is to ascend a number of mountain tops by road any which way you can and take a suitable picture at the top to prove you made it! No cash prize, no winner, just a few days flat out on the straight and navigating the curves to the top. We should be covering some 300 km per day, so quite a trek with many challenges, technically and mechanically. Flying goggles, bike leathers and sun block all very necessary.


Tour Map showing the way point field, taking in 3 or 4 markers each day.

So what if we could work some modern technology into an 80yr old car and what could it record for us and help us with? Altitude, Speed, journey time, way point setting, heart rate, weather predicting, Engine Temp, Fuel calculations, tyre pressures? The list is endless as to what can be captured and recorded.

We will be taking with us a ‘black box’ (even though it’s red) from Freescale, their IoT gateway offering, which front ends data capture, from on board cameras, heart rate monitors, GPS sensors among other things. The car is very primitive running a dynamo and voltage control box. However I have built in a 12v outlet socket into the dash to take power to drive the Freescale unit.

The tour car was only purchased earlier this year as a ‘rolling concern’ basically a lot of bits loosely tied together as a vintage car. Plenty of work has gone into making it work, to include totally rewiring it and getting almost everything to work and function correctly. All of the car is analogue and mechanical in operation right down the time clock which is wound up by hand!


The Riley during it’s rebuild, coming together, with 1 month to go, still plenty to do

Follow the journey and the adventure as we hit the road 4th September, for some very Vintage action combined with some very modern technology!

The story of getting the Riley back on the road and ‘tour ready’

Follow @IBMMessaging on Twitter to follow the story!
Mark’s Blog here : http://v8skid.blogspot.co.uk,
Mark’s Twitter: @v8skid

Tour Driver : Stuart Couch
Co-Driver/Navigator/Mechanic : Mark Barnard

Written by Mark Barnard.

Why not try IBM MQ, IoT and Bluemix for yourself? Follow the links to find out more!

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