30 Mar 2010

Google's tandem trike

  Has anybody noticed that Google is using a tandem trike to produce 360 degree image surroundings where their "Street View" camera vehicles cannot go?

Nice triangulation! I wonder what that lot costs?

How do Google advertise for this job? Tandem tricyclists with good sense of balance required? That thing looks very top heavy! Imagine the cost of overcooking a corner or misjudging the camber? And only one front brake? Ouch! Perhaps there is a hub brake hidden away at the back somewhere? I think I can see two brake levers. One of which may be hydraulic.  I also see they went for toe clips and straps rather than some more modern variety of pedal system. Compound gear reduction must be handy for such an obviously, heavy device. It looks very like it has a solid axle. Haven't they heard of Longstaff and Trykit's double freewheel, two wheel drive?

I wonder if the tandem rider gets danger money for fighting off irate locals? What next? Camera tandem trike racing? Sorry the wheels are cut off by the photographer in this Google image. Most of the online images of this trike are identical. Ironic indeed that the inadequate photographer was photographing a high-tech automatic camera operator. Perhaps they should have used a trike camera to photograph another trike camera to ensure they got it all in? ;-)

I'm glad they didn't ride down my drive instead of passing by on the main road. I doubt their turning circle was up to the task anyway. Google, the multi-billion tech-iest company on the planet is using a tandem trike? Perhaps this rarest of beasts has qualities and characteristics previously unrecognised? I often notice how my go-anywhere trike can pass unnoticed where a vehicle would have curtains twitching.

More images in the link below:

Googles billedresultat for http://blog.dk.sg/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/DSC07542.jpg

Somebody at Google must have been a keen cyclist to even have known about tandem tricycles. Presumably this was prior to such a device even being considered for this important task. "Street View" is something I only discovered for myself today. Amazingly many minor roads in the the most rural parts of Denmark have been well covered by this camera technology.  I was able to follow a cyclist for miles just by clicking on the next camera symbol up the road. Quite fun really and suggestive of a relatively low road speed for the camera vehicle. The cyclist was no boy racer. Sadly, many of my previous haunts in the UK are still without the little camera symbols on Google Earth.

Videos I have seen of  the trike camera in action show that it sways considerably in use. Almost taking on the qualities of a compound pendulum. They must have some really serious image stabilisation solutions! This explains why they didn't go for independent rear suspension. Though the fat tyres are definitely showing their pneumatic qualities. I would imagine that doubling the rear wheels/tyres would have greatly reduced swaying. Swaying obviously didn't bother them enough to try.  I wonder why they didn't fit the camera trike with rear view mirrors?