IRL: IndyCar Series announces Earpiece Sensor System

Delphi's Innovative Earpiece Sensor System becomes safety requirement for Indy Racing League drivers. Earpiece accelerometer provides critical data for post-crash analysis. TROY, Mich., Feb. 27 -- Delphi Corp.'s (NYSE:DPH) innovative ...

Delphi's Innovative Earpiece Sensor System becomes safety requirement for Indy Racing League drivers.
Earpiece accelerometer provides critical data for post-crash analysis.

TROY, Mich., Feb. 27 -- Delphi Corp.'s (NYSE:DPH) innovative earpiece sensor system (DESS) is now required equipment for the 2003 racing season for all Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series drivers. The system was introduced and tested with Scott Sharp and the Kelley Racing team in 2002.

The DESS gathers data on the forces on the driver's head in the event an accident occurs. Delphi, a leader in safety and electronics technology for racing, is the only provider of this unique system. Racing league executives and safety experts took notice of the technology last season when Delphi introduced the technology and led a joint safety research project with the IRL.

"The racing environment provides a unique opportunity for learning about how we can help make cars safer on the race track and off," said William A. Lafontaine, Delphi's corporate director of media communication and brand development. "Our accident data recording technology that is used in the IndyCar and Infiniti Pro series already has helped with engineering safety improvements and we expect this new innovation will give us even more comprehensive data for achieving higher levels of safety."

DESS uses small sensors integrated into the left and right sides of the radio earpiece worn by drivers and directly connects with Delphi's Accident Data Recorder 2 (ADR 2). The system includes six accelerometers -- one for each of the three axes on each side -- to measure head accelerations in the X, Y and Z axes during an accident.

Data measured by the sensors is stored in Delphi's ADR 2 and then retrieved later via a high-speed data link to a personal computer. The ADR 2, which is used by all IRL cars, also acquires and stores data pertaining to the vehicle prior to, during and following an accident.

The combined data from the earpiece sensors and vehicle operation measurements will help give safety researchers and the IRL a clearer picture of what happens during an accident.

"Safety is our number one priority," said Dr. Henry Bock, medical director for the Indy Racing League. "Delphi has been a key partner in helping us gather the critical data we need to help make racing as safe as possible for the drivers, the crews and the fans. We believe this research project will play an important role in helping to quickly bring an even higher level of safety to racing."

Delphi is the official electronics provider to the IRL and has been involved in open-wheel racing since 1988. Today, a majority of the vehicles in the IRL are equipped with several of Delphi's racing products including:

* Delphi Earpiece Sensor System - measures dynamic forces to a driver's head during an accident. It uses small sensors integrated into the left and right radio earpieces worn by the driver. The six accelerometers -- one for each of the three axes on each side -- measure acceleration in the X, Y and Z axes during an accident. The combined data from the earpiece sensor system and onboard accident data recorder provide accident researchers valuable data for a clearer picture of what happens during a crash.

* Accident Data Recorder (ADR2) - senses and records key vehicle parameters at 1,000 samples per second just prior to, during, and after an accident-triggering event.

* Track Condition Radio - helps alert drivers with critical information by transmitting messages from race control to the racecar. A dash-mounted display communicates messages including safety warnings, track condition and pits opened/closed.

* Radio Telemetry Module - transmits engine and chassis data from a speeding racecar to race team engineers located in the pits. The telemetry module helps enhance driver safety and race team strategy by making real-time data available.

* Multec(R) Bottom Feed Methanol Electronic Fuel Injector - provides a high flow rate and a low profile package that are ideal for port fuel racing applications. The injector is able to operate at high temperatures and provide a high level of spray atomization.

* Connectors, Cables and Terminals - connectors are coupling devices that provide an electrical and mechanical connection/disconnection in a system. Cables are insulated electrical conductors. Terminals are devices attached to the end of a wire to facilitate electrical connections. All of these Delphi components enable a vehicle's electrical/electronic system to function under the tough conditions in racing.

Delphi also has begun offering services to the racing industry, including Hydraulic Sled Testing from its state-of-the-art testing laboratory in Vandalia, Ohio. Delphi provides comprehensive safety testing using a hydraulic test sled to simulate a crash. Services include on-board data acquisition, on- and off-board digital video monitoring and the use of Delphi safety products such as the earpiece sensor system and accident data recorder.

-delphi-

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Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp