IRL: Pi Research Tire Monitoring System and the IRL

INDIANAPOLIS, May 2000 - Indy Racing League promotes safety throughout their series as much as possible. As part of that focus, Pi Research offers the Tire Monitoring System (TMS) which is currently part of many electronics programs used by IRL ...

INDIANAPOLIS, May 2000 - Indy Racing League promotes safety throughout their series as much as possible. As part of that focus, Pi Research offers the Tire Monitoring System (TMS) which is currently part of many electronics programs used by IRL teams. The TMS system alerts drivers with critical information by transmitting signals from the wheel's sensors to the race car and the pits. The TMS system can be used with a full range of Pi systems from the 3+ to the latest Sigma system. Additionally, it can be used with competitive data acquisition systems that offer four 0-5V analog inputs.

Why TMS?-The system is designed specifically to provide the earliest possibly warning of potential tire failure by measuring the inflation pressure. The data is "logged" and sent to the pits via telemetry. Data Engineers (DAGs) monitor this data allowing them to make decisions ultimately avoiding potentially dangerous situations. The system is so sensitive is can detect a change in pressure as little as +/- 0.5 PSI. In addition to being utilized as a safety device, TMS is also being used to predict performance. Performance and speed is affected by the aerodynamics of the car which can be foreseen and modified due to the information transmitted simply from the TMS system. For instance, the stiffness of the tire is generated by the inflation pressure holding the sidewall in position. Gradual changes in this stiffness will result in a change of the dynamic reactions of the car. These changes can be recorded and corrected during the next pit stop. Rapid changes signify that there is a serious problem and that the tire may fail mechanically. By being able to monitor the changes, driver's might be notified in advance of situations, therefore allowing them time to pit, thus avoiding a serious incident.

How does TMS Work? -- There are four transmitters mounted (one in each wheel) and a receiver mounted (in the car). Each transmitter is preprogrammed with specific codes to ensure this information is accurate and correct. Each team has a unique ID code and each transmitter is programmed for a specific tire (front right, left rear, etc.) The receiver is then programmed with the specific team ID code. This allows the transmitters to "talk" to the receiver. The receiver has the capability of learning the transmitters code. It can pick up a new transmitter (after a wheel change) within seconds of motion to the car. Once wheel motion is detected, the pressure of the tire is continuously monitored and transmitted every five seconds. When this pressure changes by more than +/- 0.5 PSI, data is transmitted every 1.25 seconds until the pressure is stabilized.

Pi Research is a manufacturer of data acquisition hardware and software designed to be the only system needed by professional race teams to effectively manage their performance. Pi Research develops, markets and supports fully integrated data acquisition systems for motorsports. In addition to data acquisition systems, Pi designs telemetry systems, sensors, cockpit displays and motor racing data analysis software.

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Series IndyCar