Virtual Reality is the name of the game as F1 looks to next generation
The change of Formula 1's ownership to Liberty Media, provided it is completed as planned early next year, is likely to see a hastening down the ro...
The change of Formula 1's ownership to Liberty Media, provided it is completed as planned early next year, is likely to see a hastening down the road towards new technology as a way to connect with audiences around the world and monetize advanced media content - or 'beyond broadcast', as it is called in F1.
As well as looking at ways to monetize digital content, streaming and advanced media, one of the key directions of travel is Virtual Reality.
SKY see this as an important growth area and have made it one of the key elements of their new deal with F1, while technology companies around the sport continue to come up with new innovations to bring the fans closer to the sport through VR experiences.
One company which is exhibiting at the Sport Matters conference here in Singapore this week is Virtually Live. They have developed a VR platform in collaboration with Formula E targeted at fans unable to attend live events. The platform takes telemetry direct from the cars during the race and creates a VR rendering of the live race, enabling users to experience, through a VR head-set, the race from the perspective of their chosen driver or switch to any exterior view of the track, alongside the real-time embedded broadcast.
I tried it in Singapore on Thursday morning and it is the most advanced system of its kind that I've experienced; you navigate using a simple handset with a menu button to call up the point of view options and there is a trigger on the back to select. In play the handset creates a beam of light, which you point at whatever fresh point of view you want to take, so in a close battle you can move from car to car to experience the race in multiple ways.
The Spa battle between Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen would have been fascinating to observe in this way and it takes little imagination to think of a plethora of applications for VR technology of this kind, which keeps getting smaller and more compact with each iteration.
This years' F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, F1's tech based crowdsourcing challenge, has taken VR and AR as its basis and is seeking solutions to VR and AR challenges in the world of F1.
The winners of the second challenge were announced last week and they will travel to Austin next month, along with the winners of Challenge 1, to compete for the grand prize of US$50,000. Last year it was won by a JA on F1 reader Paul Clarke, from Australia and we are hoping that our readers who made the final will once again have success.
Challenge 2 was set by the Mercedes F1 team and entrants had to design a VR/AR solution, which allows engineers at the circuit and back at the team's factory in the UK, to work better as an integrated virtual unit.
The winners, with their winning ideas, are:
Benjamin van Caspel (Australia)
Allowing remote F1 engineering teams to observe more, analyse deeper and act faster through an Augmented Reality (AR) interface. AR allows the interface to be a part of the environment and can utilise a user’s spatial awareness to communicate information more quickly.
Leire Apraiz Elcoroiribe & Marco Einöder (Spain)
By taking advantage of the image detection and immersion capabilities of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and wearable technologies, the solution enables an integrated and holistic view point of various factors during a Grand Prix.
Tom Blockley & Richard Howells (United Kingdom)
This solution offers improved collaboration within a mixed reality environment to extend the technology and communication within the core group of engineers by centralizing and streamlining operations, communicating all channels through an interactive Virtual Race Centre (VRC).For more on the 2016 F1 Connectivity Innovation Challenge click here
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