FIA to use incident-spotting software during races
July 28, 2011
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New software from the FIA will automatically detect incidents like this
The FIA has announced that it is testing software that will automatically notify Race Control when a driver breaks the rules during a race.
This software is a combination of real-time lap timing, GPS co-ordinates for each car, and data regarding tyre patterns. All of these are combines to detect when a driver has broken a rule while out on track.
The end result of this software is that it can advise Race Control, and race director Charlie Whiting, if a car has been behaving oddly, which in turn may lead to swifter penalties.
This information was released through the FIA’s magazine InMotion. The designer of this innovation, Gareth Griffith, explains the software’s function:
"We tied in the cameras with the timing and the GPS, so we knew exactly where a car
was on the track.
Then we started to analyse the data to pick out incidents. The software creates
alerts and that automatically takes the Riedel technicians to the right cameras,
instead of them having to find them, as used to happen.
Within a few seconds Charlie [Whiting] can be looking at the incident: either for
safety purposes or to refer it to the stewards. It is automated, using the data
available and algorithms based on the interactions in that data.
In the case of baulking, for example, the algorithms can analyse the proximity of
two GPS signals to see how long it takes the car behind to close from five to two
seconds behind the car in front. We can then measure how long the second car stays
behind the first and if there is no time lost then there was no incident.
The data can show us when a car is not behaving as it should be behaving and so we
can ascertain at what moment that changed and if there was another car in close
proximity at that moment."
However, this new technical innovation is still well away from passing judgement on drivers’ actions. It can already detect what kind of an incident has occured, but the responsibility of penalties still lies with Charlie Whiting:
"With all of this it is still Charlie’s decision whether to refer incidents
to the Stewards and their decision as to whether the driver is penalised or