The typical F1 racing car embodies the sophisticated engineering — designed to win and only but win. The racing platform itself (both team, driver, and car) executes every deductive decision vetted against one pillar called “performance.”
Here’s the quantified car and driver. At 1.5 gigabytes of data wirelessly transmitted per connected car during a race, the ECU (electronic control unit) generates 2-4 megabytes per second of data from the F1 cars’ 120+ various sensors, which also include the drivers’ heartbeat and vitals. Now let’s add the upgraded network fiber deployed across each race of the year set forth to ensure every turn and tunnel can stream and broadcast this telemetry and data.These embedded systems comprise of technology not limited to neither automotive nor Formula 1; embedded systems are used in the aero industry, marine, medical, emergency, industrial, and in the larger home entertainment industry. Therefore, advanced technology, little by little take place in the devices that we use every day. There are many useful products that are used in the industry — even though they first surfaced — as an application in F1 racing [the proven, moving lab].
F1 electronic devices used may be generally regarded in groups [using embedded systems] by the following:
Here is an example Formula 1 steering wheel. It’s the embedded electronic enchilada, serving information [resulting from actuators and sensors] to a driver [on a need to know basis]. The driver coincides his race style and plan [tire management, performance plan, passing maneuvers, aggressive tactic] to every bit of data and resulted in a formatted display. These are literally at his fingers.
What are some of the F1 connected car implications?
Drivers in Formula 1 have access to functionality through their race platforms, which helps improve speed and increase passing opportunities. The DRS (Drag Reduction System) helps control and manage moveable rear wing. For a driver, in conjunction with Pirelli tires and KERS, it has proven successful in its pursuit of increasing overtaking which is all good for the fan base and competitive sport. The DRS moves an aerodynamic wing on a Formula 1 race car. When activated via the driver’s steering wheel, the DRS system alters the wing profile shape and direction, greatly reducing the drag on the wing by minimizing down force [flattening of the wing and reduce drag by 23%.]. Well, now coupled with the reduction in drag, this enables faster acceleration and a higher top speed while also changes variably the driving characteristics and style for over-taking. These are called driver and protocol adjustable body works.
How it works? Like all movable components of an F1 pure breed, the system relies on hydraulic lines tied to embedded control units, and actuators to control the flap. Managed by a cluster of servo valves manufactured by Moog, the Moog valves are interfaced via an electronic unit receiving a secure signal from the cockpit. Of course, this all happens under certain circumstances. When two or more cars pass over timing loops in the surface of the track, if a following car is measured at less than one second behind a leading car it will be sent a secure signal [encrypted then transmitted via RF] that will allow its driver to deploy the car’s active rear wing. Since the timing loops will be sited after corners, drivers will only be able to deploy the active rear wing as a car goes down a specific straight paths in many tracks. In essence, the modern day Formula 1 car is a connected platform dynamically enabled to produce a stronger driver, appealing more to both driver performance and fan engagement.
Moveable aerodynamic components are nothing new. But still, for an Airbus A320 or even a modern UAV or fighter jet, there is a huge amount of space to work in. On a grand prix car, it’s quite different. This is also achieved in a very hyper fast, mobile, and logistically drained environment of Formula 1, where performance, equipment, and configuration are a demanded at all times. Next we’ll summarize how this relates to the broader connected car concept…
F1 showcases the finer elements of connected cars, making it possible
Just discussed, cars in general are going to become literally the larger mobile device. They will be connected to all sorts of use-cases and applications. Most importantly, we are the drivers, and we will become connected drivers. Both driver and connected car will become more seamless.
The next phase where smart mobility is going to change how we do and behave after we before or after we reach our destination. In Wired Magazine’s column named Forget the Internet of Things: Here Comes the ‘Internet of Cars’, Thilo Koslowski discusses the improvements and why connected cars are inevitably near. Thilo, a leading expert on the evolution of the automotive industry and the connected vehicle says, ““Connected vehicles” are cars that access, consume, create, enrich, direct, and share digital information between businesses, people, organizations, infrastructures, and things. Those ‘things’ include other vehicles, which is where the Internet of Things becomes the Internet of Cars.”
Yes, for the connected car, there still exist a number of technology challenges and legislative issues to build out a successful broader impact. Like Formula 1, we attribute many of its tech surfacing into main stream markets [previously discussed in part 1]. This next automotive revolution stems on current and related industry trends such as the convergence of digital lifestyles, the emergence of new mobility solutions, demographic shifts, and the rise of smartphones and the mobile internet.Thilo further claims “As these vehicles become increasingly connected, they become self-aware, contextual, and eventually, autonomous. Those of you reading this will probably experience self-driving cars in your lifetime — though maybe not all three of its evolutionary phases: from automated to autonomous to unmanned.”
Actually, a consumer shift is happening. Consumers now expect to access relevant information ranging from geo location, integration of social data, way points, destination, sites of interest, recommendations, ones digital foot print integrated into the “connected car” experience. The driver will become connected with all the various other touch points in his/her digital life. Moreover, this will happen wherever they go — including in the automobile. Thilo even goes to as far as claiming, “At the same time, these technologies are making new mobility solutions – such as peer-to-peer car sharing – more widespread and attractive. This is especially important since vehicle ownership in urban areas is expensive and consumers, especially younger ones, don’t show the same desire for vehicle ownership as older generations do.
To be successful, connected vehicles will draw on the leading technologies in sensors, displays, on-board and off-board computing, in-vehicle operating systems, wireless and in-vehicle data communication, machine learning, analytics, speech recognition, and content management. (That’s just to name a few.) “
All together, the build out of the connected car, [aspects proven in F1], contributes considerable business benefits and opportunities:
- Lowered emissions & extended utility of EVs — remote Battery swap stations, cars as (Internet as a service), peer to peer car sharing, cars with payment capabilities, subscription of energy, vehicles as power plants back to the grid, KERS, and other alternative fuel savings displaced with electrical motors and emerging consumer conscience accountability to clean energy
- New entertainment options — countless integration opportunities with mobile (M2M and IoT) ecosystem of value added connected Apps and mobile services (i.e. Uber disrupted an old traditional market)
- New marketing and commerce experiences — countless use-cases in increasing the engagement and point of arrival offerings
- Reduced accident rates — albeit found in crash avoidance systems, location based services, driver monitoring, emergency response automation, early warning automation, telemetry to lower insurance cost, or advanced assisted driving
- Increased productivity — gains achieved via efficiencies/time management towards more sustainable commutes
- Improved traffic flow — efficient system merging various datasets to advance navigation to minimize and balance capacity or re-route traffic
Like all technology, old ideas will progress, evolve to newer platforms to bring new functionality that can adapt to the latest popular ecosystem [simply being mobile & connected]. Connected cars will expand automotive business models augmenting new services and products to many industries — retail, financial services, media, IT, and consumer electronics. The traditional automotive business model can be significantly transformed for the betterment of the consumer experience. Today, emphasis is placed much purely on the output, sale, and maintenance of a vehicles. Later on, once connected cars reach market maturity with wide adoption, companies will focus on the sum of business opportunities [value add chain ecosystem] leveraged from the connected vehicles and the connected driver.
Are you a product maestro or someone with domain expertise for your company seeking to improve processes or developing value added services to build IoT enabled products? Perhaps, you are in a vertical intended to accelerate business and customer satisfaction? With all this business creation stirring up, it’s quite clear the connected car platform will open new customer connected services or product enhanced offerings.
(Interested in reading more? Don’t forget to check out Part 1.)