Open Innovation Delivers Disruptive Formula 1 Ideas

Published Feb-06-17

Breakthrough:
A virtual reality trackside experience that delivers live panoramic 360-degree visuals to viewers anywhere in the world.

Company:
Formula 1/Tata Communications, India

The Story:

Open Innovation Delivers Disruptive Formula 1 Ideas As well as being home to some of the fastest racers on the planet, Formula 1 is also a hotbed of innovation, a fantastic laboratory where new technologies are developed, tested and introduced. In recent years, the motor sport's management has increased the size of the talent pool it dips into for ideas with a series of open innovation challenges - the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize.

In 2016, the third iteration of the contest got off the starting grid. It challenged participants to come up with ideas as to how virtual reality and augmented reality within Formula 1 racing could a) enhance the fan experience and b) enable closer cooperation between team engineers.

The response from fans was colossal, with thousands engaging with the open innovation competition from all over the world. The judging panel consisted of drivers and Formula 1 technologists among others, and they selected three winners from each challenge and a Grand Prize winner.

Winning Entries

The $50,000 Grand Prize winner was Datu YogaBrata for a live, 360-degree virtual trackside experience that transports fans directly to the track no matter where they are in the world. The ultra-immersive VR experience would be made possible by teams of people with wearable VR cameras roaming the circuit to capture live 360-degree visuals.
Fans would be able to control what they see and how they want to view it, and through augmented reality would be able to select specific objects to reveal additional information.

"There’s no bigger or more powerful showcase for technological innovation than Formula 1, and VR and AR will push the excitement of the sport even further," said Datu YogaBrata. "My idea aims to capitalize on that by bringing fans closer to the exciting world of F1 than ever before. I’m thrilled that the judges saw the potential of my virtual trackside experience for fans."

The other winning ideas in the VR fan experience challenge were an in-circuit experience offering near-live 360-degree videos and a concept that uses VR and AR to replicate the trackside atmosphere.

Improving Team Communications

The second challenge looked for a virtual operations solution for team communications. Drivers are supported by two teams of engineers, one team works at the trackside and the other in the team's headquarters. Both come up with a race strategy and resolve any issues via audio communications and two-way videos between the track and base. But can this collaboration between two geographically separate entities be enhanced and made more efficient by VR and AR technology?

There were three winning concepts in this challenge. They were:

• An idea to improve remote collaboration by using a fully self-contained holographic
headset.
• Mobile or tablet devices using AR which when pointed at cars reveals multiple
informative hotspots. Meanwhile, race support room and trackside engineers
communicate using VR, taking advantage of wearable technologies to provide a
view of every factor during a race.
• IRIS - a system that uses Microsoft HoloLens. Data is displayed in intuitive places
around users, with key information being displayed in real-time.

There's no word on whether Formula 1 is going to employ any of these innovations any time soon, but its use of open innovation to source ideas is helping to keep it at the forefront of technological innovation.

Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer of Tata Communications, the connectivity provide to Formula 1, commented: "These disruptive ideas from fans that are powered by data and superfast connectivity continue to inspire and excite us for the future of Formula 1."

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