ICT for high performance in motorsports

Motorsports cause an extremely high cognitive and physical stress for the athlete. It requires high steering precision under time pressure and fast reactions at high speeds. Innovations in information and communication technology (ICT) from the Saarland University will soon help analyzing and improving human performance in motorsports.

Together with the 15-year-old junior racer Chiara Messina from Bous, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) launched a collaboration with Saarland University in the areas of sports science and construction design. Both institutes are partners of EIT ICT Labs. The aim of the project is to develop motorsports-specific performance diagnostics as well as a laboratory simulation. The project is part of the so called "Future Lab Mobility” on Saarland University campus, which is an EIT ICT Labs test site. First tests with the OpenDS simulator – an EIT ICT Labs open-source software presently not yet specifically geared for racing – have shown that Chiara Messina possesses significantly shorter reaction times than experienced drivers. 

The young motorsports athlete has been training about 2 years on a Sony racing simulator and has evolved over this period to a simulator expert. Thereby, she has only one goal: she wants to become a professional racer. Much of what she needs to know in order to be fast, and what she cannot yet learn on the street because of her young age, the teenager learns through virtual racing games. "We will work with cognitively oriented training sessions on a racing simulator with context response and differentiation capabilities", explains Prof. Stefan Panzer, Director of the Sports Science Institute at Saarland University.

Chiara Messina: "If someone is fast on the simulator, that does not mean that he is fast in a real racing car – but those who are not fast enough on the simulator tomorrow, will neither be fast on the track.” 

"We are very confident that we can convince the automotive and motorsports industry from investing in this initiative," says Dr. Christian Müller, head of the Automotive Group at DFKI and EIT ICT Labs action line leader Intelligent Mobility and Transportation  Systems, "With Chiara Messina, we have found the best partner possible for this project."

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