May 07, 2006

Formula One Live Data

UPDATE: check out my F1 Technology Channel on Splashcast

For previews of forthcoming F1 races, and regular F1 news via blog, podcast and videocast, check out - "Your Weekly F1 Fix"

It's Formula One Grand Prix race day, and as I've mentioned before it's possible to get live timing straight from the Formula One website (as well as live Renault drivers' track positions from the Renault F1 site): View image

Although I haven't been able to find any details from 'official' sources about accessing the live timing (and brief text commentary) data from the F1 site, it seems that someone has reversed engineered it for the Live F1 Linux client.

There are a couple of things it might be interesting to explore with this information - a live chat client that relays the commentary information could be fun to start with, especially if it was fed from a 'virtual commentator' that automatically generates commentary information based on position changes, whether cars are in the pits and so on ('X has just pitted', 'P is 0.2s slower than Q in sector 2', 'Y had a very quick/slow pit stop' (there are expected times for a pit stop) , 'the safety car has come out' - you get the picture...).

The RoboCup football simulation league has an automated commentary challenge associated with it, and many sports based computer games embed automatic commentary systems, so there are plenty of precedents. The 'linear' nature of the F1 race (as compared to the much more loosely structured game of football) means that as an entry clevel hallenge to automatic commentary systems, F1 racing is quite appealing.

It may also be possible to identify progression between the complexity of commentary systems within F1 itself, for example by designing commentary systems for the qualification session and the race day itself.

Opening up the data feeds could also provide an ICT outreach element to F1 to support initiatives like F1 in Schools and the new BMW-Sauber Pit Lane Park (If anyione reading is associated with that, I'd love a free pass in to see it at Silverstone, even before race day;-)

The ICT elements of F1 are potentially a significant resource for ICT outreach - not only are there significant telemetry and GPS aspects that can be exploited (including data and voice comms) there are also significant issues relating to sensor data fusion and analysis within the car itself. F1 is data rich - is it time we put it to educaitonal use?

Posted by ajh59 at May 7, 2006 02:26 PM