Motorsports maven uses Microsoft IoT technology to broadcast record-setting results in real time

Oct 13, 2016   |   Microsoft IoT

What does it feel like to be the fastest woman on four wheels? With Microsoft Internet of Things (IoT), viewers of all ages around the world were able to share in driver Jessi Combs courage and fierce persistence as she shared her land-speed run in real time.

The prize-winning motorsports athlete recently drove the North American Eagle, a powerful race car built from a 1950s jet fighter, a whopping 477.59 miles per hour — her fastest speed ever — as part of her ambitious goal to become the fastest woman on earth. Combs endured a frightening setback when the car drifted slightly off course, yet she went on to earn her personal best, as she works toward her goal of breaking the 1976 women’s land-speed record of 512 miles per hour. “Let this be a testament that girls can do anything they set their minds to,” she says.

Not only was Combs’ feat a testament to the fortitude of women, but also to the power and innovation of Microsoft IoT technology. As Combs drove the North American Eagle across a 10.5-mile course in a remote Oregon desert, a global audience obtained a real-time view of was happening in the vehicle, with 500 million data points of live telemetry streaming from her race car in hostile conditions devoid of electricity or reliable cellular communications.

The platform was built in many after-hours sessions with Microsoft engineers Matt Long and Mark Nichols known for the Pegasus Mission, a research project that involved using the Microsoft Azure cloud to stream live data from the upper atmosphere using a compact probe attached to a high-altitude balloon.

For this project, Long and Nichols used Windows 10 IoT Core to build a small sensor device that sent the telemetry from the race car cockpit and received messages in real time, including ones from well-wishers as far away as Russia. The Eagle’s custom telemetry system, which captures nearly 60,000 data measurements per second, uploaded data to Microsoft Azure for analysis with Cortana Intelligence. Fans were able to view the results up to a fraction of a second using mobile apps built with Xamarin.

By creating the broadcast system, Long and Nichols wanted to demonstrate the vast potential of IoT to provide real-time intelligence — even in extreme conditions. “By taking these challenging situations and using different concepts in technology, we are able to do things that have never been done before,” says Long. “Customers can then use their own imaginations to come up with new things to compete with in the marketplace.”

For Combs, Microsoft IoT technology made it possible to share her inspirational story with fans around the world: “There are very few people who’ve driven over 400 miles per hour, so when we can allow people to be in the cockpit with us and experience it from the comfort of their living room or office chair, it’s really cool to share that experience.”

To learn more about the Pegasus Mission’s partnership with the North American Eagle, please read our recent article, “Supersonic dreams at 477 mph.” Also, visit the Pegasus Mission website.

For more information on how the power of IoT can transform your organization, visit

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