As an increasing number of automakers reveal plans to integrate artificial intelligence into production cars, enthusiast vehicles, like those produced by Ferrari are placed in a precarious position.
It may come as a surprise to learn that Ferrari has made an announcement with Intel, but rather than using advanced technology to supplant human drivers, the collaboration will see high-tech systems used to school better human wheelmanship.
Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich announced a three-year partnership with Ferrari at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that will work in two main areas: improving the TV spectacle of Ferrari’s one-make racing series, and helping improve the performance of customers who race Ferrari 488 coupes.
Flying drones will be key to the arrangement, with advanced artificial intelligence being used not to take the controls of vehicles themselves, but rather to help train customers taking part in the Ferrari Challenge North America race series.
Intel promises a richer spectator experience from 2018 through artificial intelligence crunching huge amounts of data during race broadcasts, “combined with aerial footage captured via drone-mounted cameras... to analyse races in real time and provide deeper insights that deepen the experience for fans”.
It also promises machine learning technology “will also be used to provide driving insights, which drivers can use to make adjustments that improve their overall race results”.
“Over time, these models will be used to ingest telemetric data such as steering angle, throttle pressure, braking pressure and more, to understand a racer’s driving style and predict their performance on the track,” Intel says.
The Ferrari Challenge follows a similar format to the Porsche Carrera Cup and Lamborghini Super Trofeo series by putting amateur up-and-coming racers or wealthy ‘gentleman’ drivers in the driver’s seat, rather than a full field of experienced professionals.
As part of a typical post-race review drivers thoroughly study vehicle data, examining their cornering lines, braking points, and other elements to see where improvements could be made.
Intel says drones equipped with number-crunching AI programs could spped up the process thanks to real-time data analysis that may “find unexpected insights that the driver can use to improve”.
The company plans to use its technology to compare how a single driver approaches from different laps – or to examine the approach of several different drivers - to help find the optimum approach to any given corner, feeding that information back to competitors.
Complex algorithms could also find subtle changes in data that humans may miss, helping perfect a vehicle’s setup as well as the driver’s technique.
The scheme may eventually spread to other series that host the Ferrari Challenge, including the Asia-Pacific championship which heads to Melbourne’s Albert Park at the Australian Grand Prix on March 22-25.
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