Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX), the world’s leading provider of programmable solutions, today announced that its low-cost Spartan(TM) field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are on board the earth-friendly, biodiesel-powered Earthrace powerboat. The extraordinary vessel is the brainchild of New Zealander Pete Bethune, 41, a former oil exploration engineer. Bethune designed the 78-foot wave piercing powerboat in an attempt to break the world record for circumnavigating the globe (current record is 75 days) – and for the first time in history to do so using a powerboat that runs entirely on bio-diesel renewable fuel. Xilinx FPGAs enable the radar and night vision systems aboard Earthrace.
The Earthrace crew plans to challenge the 24,000 nautical mile world record in March 2007 as part of an 18-month world tour aimed at promoting the benefits of renewable fuels. The boat’s unique ‘wave piercing’ trimaran design allows the craft to literally pierce through waves, submerging when necessary. This allows the craft to operate even in the harshest weather conditions.
Xilinx offers a comprehensive portfolio of earth-friendly chips that are lead-free, energy efficient and able to operate under harsh conditions. The programmable nature of Xilinx devices allows customers to ‘morph’ the technology as needed to meet their specific needs. Xilinx chips are prevalent among a vast array of applications, ranging from the mission-critical Mars Rover to high-volume consumer handsets and automotive electronics.
“The purpose of our world tour is to enlighten the world on the use of renewable fuels and the need to conserve precious resources such as fossil fuels,” said Bethune, skipper, captain and inventor of Earthrace. “The Earthrace crew consists of volunteers dedicated to the future of our environment. In addition to their flexible nature, Xilinx FPGAs are earth-friendly, which supports our mission to encourage a better future for our planet.”
The Earthrace vessel is currently docked in the San Francisco Bay, which is the fourth stopover in a 60-city global promotional tour that will run both before and after the world record attempt in March 2007. The world promotional tour will cover Canada, North America, Asia and Europe.
To beat the current world record, the Earthrace team must adhere to the following requirements: start and finish in the same place; use a boat less than 150 feet in length (Earthrace is 78 feet); and travel through the Panama and Suez Canals making the route equatorial and very long at 24,000 nautical miles.
After the Earthrace crew breaks the world record, their intent is to undertake similar tours throughout the globe before bringing the boat back home to New Zealand in 2008.There, it will be donated to the New Zealand Maritime Museum where it can be suitably displayed and enjoyed by the general public and contribute to maritime history.
Xilinx, Inc. is the worldwide leader of programmable logic solutions.