Nürburg. In the future artificial intelligence is set to revolutionize safety on the Nürburgring race track. The Nürburgring and the technology group Fujitsu have joined forces for this project. The focus is on the interaction between state-of-the-art software and sophisticated safety technology. In the future, dangers are to be recognized automatically and passed on to safety team and drivers at lightning speed. Development of the special software is in full swing on the Döttinger Höhe test section.
A vehicle goes off the track - not an uncommon incident on a racetrack. Not on the Nordschleife either. After all, it is considered to be the most demanding racetrack in the world. If there is an incident, the information has so far been sent via radio messages to the RaceControl - the heart of the racetrack. All relevant information about what is happening comes together here. This is where you decide what to do. Although these processes have been learned over decades, the situations on the Nordschleife can be difficult to assess. What is missing is a direct view of what is happening.
Software takes on a superhuman task
This “blind” situation could change through an extensive digitization measure on the Nordschleife. A first step is a test section that has been active in the “Döttinger Höhe” area since the 24-hour race. Eight cameras cover the 2.4 kilometre long area and provide the safety team with a comprehensive overview. For complete surveillance of the entire Nordschleife, which is characterized by a 20.8 kilometre track length with many curves and unclear track sections, one would need up to 100 cameras - in addition to the cameras already installed around the Grand Prix track. Keeping an overview of all camera signals would be an almost superhuman task. That is why the Nürburgring is working with Fujitsu on a solution with artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence training
In the first step, the AI completes extensive training for the practical use of the new software. In doing so, it learns to classify various components of the racetrack, such as "lane", "meadow", "gravel", "crash barriers" and the vehicles accordingly. The AI constantly analyses the segment on which a vehicle is currently moving. It also includes differentiating between various natural deviations such as rain or shadows. In addition, special features such as traces of oil, dirt on the road and other objects or living beings on the road are registered. The data collected in real time is immediately transferred to a system that can trigger further steps and alarms. These include automatic warnings for following traffic on LED panels or the prioritized display of the camera image for safety team. This training, further tests and the development of the AI are currently being driven forward on the first test section “Döttinger Höhe”. An application to the entire Nordschleife would bring the safety standard on the legendary racetrack into a new era. To make this happen, the Nürburgring and Fujitsu work hand in hand with their respective core competencies. In racetrack jargon, you could say: Both give full throttle for more safety.
Mirco Markfort, managing director of Nürburgring 1927 GmbH & Co. KG
“We have been investing large sums in the further development of security for years. Today, the Nordschleife is safer than ever. Through our involvement with Fujitsu, we are not only advancing security, we are also making a quantum leap. On the Nordschleife, which has existed for almost 100 years, we are using digital technology for the first time that revolutionizes safety and the associated mechanisms. "
Jörn Nitschmann, Head of Manufacturing and Automotive Central Europe at Fujitsu
“As one of the largest and best-known locations in Germany, the Nürburgring is a predestined partner for technology-based solutions in the event and sports sector. The racetrack itself is unique and has a worldwide reputation for being the touchstone for the automotive industry. The saying, "Everyone praises what has been tested on the Nürburgring" is no coincidence. That is why we are pleased to be able to advance this ground-breaking project with new technologies as a digitization partner. "