At the ADAC TOTAL 24h Race, the Nürburgring is giving a special starting signal this year. For the first time, the race track is using the newly created, digital infrastructure of the Nordschleife. 2.8 kilometers of the historic track have been equipped with high-resolution cameras, fiber optic cables and power cables. With their help, camera signals from the race track, which was opened in 1927, now reach the race control system of the Grand-Prix track directly. The use of the new technology is expected to further increase safety on the world's most demanding race track and provide important insights for further possible digitalization measures on the Nordschleife. The technology group Fujitsu is supporting the project as part of a partnership. Together, innovations for a "track safety of the future" are to be advanced.
"Jeder lobt, was Nürburgring-erprobt" - under this motto, many developments in the automotive industry have been driven forward for over 95 years. The digitalization measure on the Nordschleife is no exception. With in-house developments from Nürburgring's specialist departments and the support of specialist companies, a customized digital solution was designed on the section between Döttinger Höhe and the Grand-Prix track. From the stable camera masts, which guarantee a steady camera image even in strong Eifel winds, to connection cabinets for the necessary technology. Eight permanently installed swiveling and zoomable HD cameras now provide a perfect overview. They support those responsible in race control, who in the past had to form an opinion about the situation on the track exclusively via radio messages from the marshals.
On the digitalized section, the development and use of artificial intelligence is now also to be advanced as part of a partnership with Fujitsu. This is intended to further increase safety by independently detecting potential hazards and deviations from the regular traffic. An important point, should the digitalization measure be extended to the entire Nordschleife. Around 100 cameras would then be used here alone - in addition to the existing cameras on the Grand-Prix track. Since all the image signals converge in Racecontrol, the variety of signals would be almost impossible to monitor with the human eye. For this reason, software is to ensure that various events are automatically displayed to those responsible so that decisions can be made quickly here and further measures initiated if necessary.
"We are pleased to have gained a renowned and innovative partner in Fujitsu, which brings an incredible amount of know-how in the software and artificial intelligence sector," explains Nürburgring CEO Mirco Markfort. "We notice how great the interest and motivation for the Nürburgring project are at Fujitsu and firmly expect both sides to benefit sustainably from this cooperation. Together, we want to gain and implement important insights for modern track safety in the future."
The technology will also be used to further expand measures such as digital marshalling. Digital display panels show flag signals and other information directly on the track. In addition, these signals can be shown directly to the driver on the display in the car. Conclusions are to be drawn from the entire test run as to what requirements digitization of further sections of the Nordschleife would entail. For this reason, different cameras, display panels and various power supply options will be used on the Döttinger Höhe in the coming weeks.