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Watch Le Mans From Inside Le Car 40

RhaLovely writes: "GM has set up a Web site to cover the Le Mans race. The interesting thing here is that they also fixed some video cameras and sensors on their cars (Corvettes and Cadillacs) so that people can follow the race on the site. You will be able to see the windshield view, the speed of the car, RPM of the engine, brake pressure, the location of the car on the circuit, the lateral acceleration on the pilot (not so easy to be a pilot) and during the night they'll use some infrared captors."
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Watch Le Mans From Inside The Car

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  • Camera's in race cars are obviously not a new thing, but it is somewhat novel to have it running 24 hours over the net. What I think is more novel is Virtual Spectator which was used for the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup.

    During the America's Cup races, you could visualise, online and via GPS, the co-ordinates of each boat in relation to each other, the paths which they took. Seeing is really believing at []
    They seem to be mainly focused on yachting at the moment, but I understand Formula1 Racing may be using Virtual Spectaort in the future

  • Yep, watch a nascar race anyday, and you'll see all of the features that are added to these cars.
  • If you want to see something really cool, go or during a shuttle mission. You can see live orbiter telemetry -- not just some state vector-base orbital predictor, but actual telemetry. The applet even uses the same telemetry protocol as is used within mission control.

  • I'm watching LeMans on Speedvision in one window and I have the GM feed in another window.
    I finally feel like the PC is fufilling some of those 'multimedia' promises I bought into years ago. Enhanced TV, stats, etc etc.
    This is a hell of a lot better than watching some jerky video of a movie trailer or watching a halfhour long flash intro.
  • The correct expression is "Revolutions per minute" not "Rotations per minute".

    Have a nice day!
  • I can get the telemetry data to display and the Java applet worksb ut I do not get any video. I get a message "Handler for MIME type text/plain not found" or something really similar. What gives? :(

    Had no desire or curiosity to fix or wonder what that message was till now (seen it before)

  • Why bother?

    Seems to me that that kind of thing is for people too dumb to figure out the rules to a tractor pull.
  • I'll clarify. The idea of someone like you or me monitoring engine status over the net - or the television - is funny at best. I *am* into the sport, have even driven on a small track (118 mi/hr top speed on a one mile tri-oval). I understand the nuances of the slightest modifications to tire pressures and temperatures, spoiler angles, fuel mixture, engine cooling, et al.

    If I was involved with a crew, I'd probably want to telemeter certain info to the pit. That's not necessarily putting it on a network. If I've got available radio frequency, I'll use that and simply transmit the data.

    For me to get the data across the net - the Internet - IF it could be streamed quickly enough to be essentially real-time, it would be a waste of bandwidth, imho. As a spectator, what does it add to the "experience"?

    When they show engine speed and braking indicator on the tv, it helps gauge a little of what's happening, but not by much. I listen to engine speeds, look at how much the driver is fighting with the wheel, see how much junk is raised from the track as cars fly by a camera. I look at the oil spray from the track, the condition of tires after being changed. I watch the timing of pit stops, and watch the gambling of changing 2 versus 4 tires for short-term position versus long-term.

    Bottom line is racing *is* a fast sport, won and lost on margins. Watching a race on the net isn't practicable. Yet. At present the net isn't up to speed.


  • by ajs ( 35943 )
    You get an RPM of the engine? Is it platform-specific, or do I get source? Can I install it under SuSE, or is it RedHat-specific?

    Damn, here I thought that the world wasn't catching on to RPM....
  • It's getting old watching the same three manufacturers go at it (mostly in one round ring). The real beauty in racing (unlike the Nascar "monopoly") is Super Touring Championships, which feature multiple _international_ manufacturers like BMW, Honda, Ford, Porsche, Volkswagon.. and most of the time they use winding tracks.. screw that overused ring.. lets see some variety! You get to watch Accords battle 318is, and Skylines take on Integras all on the track. Imagine a web cam in these! Too bad Super Touring doesn't have the kind of publicity it had a few years back. More companies should look into it.

    Linux user: if (nt == unstable) { switchTo.linux() }
  • [Long-distance shot of cars going around a racetrack, while the soundtrack plays a groovy wocka-chika beat. The camera zooms in to follow a beat-up station wagon on the track, its hood emblazoned with the "Intel Inside" logo. Behind the wheel is a geeky looking middle-aged guy.]

    [The Intel driver accelerates up to a pack of formula-one race cars, emblazoned with AMD symbol and "Athlon 1 GHz" logos. The guy cracks a goofy grin and gives a thumbs up to the other drivers, who frown, peel rubber, and leave the station wagon in the dust. The station wagon begins sputtering, the hubcaps fall off, and the car breaks down in the middle of the racetrack.]

    Announcer: "Can't do it in real life? Do it on the web." [Intel theme plays]
  • How much will all this video equipment weigh? Won't these race drivers be wanting to get the lightest possible car for strategic advangages. Anyways, this seems very cool.

  • NASCAR doesn't allow telemetry inside of their cars, AFAIK. However, there have been some VERY interesting workarounds, such as using a retired Radar gun, outfitting it with an RS232 interface, and sending the data to a computer to display it on the TV folks....

  • by MrJay ( 172412 ) on Saturday June 17, 2000 @11:20AM (#996228) Homepage

    Now, what *would* be helpful is for certain practical info to be made available in realtime. What lap is being run? What was the top speed of the last lap? What are the positions of the drivers? If this kind of info was typically available on the net, I'd probably watch races on the tv along with following it on the net.

    Nascar provides all the information in your wishlist and then some. I do exactly what you describe on Sundays when football isn't on. Check out Nascar Online [] while a race is going on.

  • I'm sure I saw a strange phenomenon while watching the race with the Corvette C5-R 63! It was a long string of lights, that were 'dancing' with the car, maintaining the same speed (!) and finally accelerating into the horizon at speeds not humanly possible!!!

    Please, if anybody is taking screenshots of this, it happened during the 42nd lap. This could be it, folks!

    -- MotorMachineMercenary
    Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves. -Lord Byron
  • NASCAR doesn't allow telemetry inside of their cars, AFAIK.

    Sure they do. Watch the next race from Sears Point, and possibly even Watkins Glen. They'll show on-board shots of the drivers feet (typically Ricky Rudd, since he seems to demo the heel-toe driving style the best) and they'll simultaneously show throttle position, MPH and brake pressure. Same with some Super Speedways.

    Whoops. Back in my NASCAR closet again.

    An AFM motorcycle racer, stuck at home on a race weekend recuperating. Damnit.

  • I can't see it either, but for a different reason. IE decides the best app for the job is MusicMatch JukeBox, which - after thinking about it for a while - tells me that the file format is invalid. You know, it's stuff like this that makes me want to resign my geekdom. The day-star is shining brightly outside and I may just go for a closer look.
  • M$ is using a fake version of Java for this, Netscape and other browsers not allowed.
  • Of course, it'd be in the best interest of GM to just support the hardware out-of-the-box, but we'd need to pressure them to make sure the drivers are under the GPL.

    (Dateline: Indianapolis) As part of the pre-race publicity for the Indy 500, actress Natalie Portman (Phantom Menace, Better Living through Circuitry, Heat, Leon) whose movies often include elaborate race/chase scenes, drove a ceremonial lap around legendary Indy Track in a General Motors Indy car.

    The brief trip was not without incident. An on-board video camera wrenched itself loose under commands from remote viewers. GM mechanic Alfor Hominy was puzzled, "I didn't even think it was supposed to swivel. Fixed-view is all we need for Indy."

    In a related story, Richard Stallman held a press conference praising GM's use of a 'free as in speech' operating system in their cars, but it was abruptly cut short when one reporter asked about the plethora of closed source drivers in the new operating system.

    "er... uh... yes... that's true, but..." he said, before breaking down and sobbing "she's not automatically open under GPL!" He was escorted from the stage by Kernel Developer Linus Torvalds, who later explained. Richard has devoted this life to Free Software. The idea of a driver he can't freely access, manipulate, and modify to his wishes rather upsets him."

    To dispel the embarrassment, Transmeta CEO Dave Ditzel declared the cash bar "free as in beer", which much to the disappointment of the assembled press, turned out to mean $2.50 for a Lite
  • moderation works! []
  • [] has been doing this for over a year now (sans the camera) thanks to the fine people at Quokka Sports []. The stats are not just limited to the sponsored teams either :)

    For those fans of Indy style racing, check it out...
  • NASCAR doesn't allow telemetry back to teams inside the cars....the TV networks and sponsors pay big bucks to send stuff the teams aren't interested in (speed, rpms) back to the TV feeds. Couple years back this was $50-$100k per race. The stuff the teams are interested in, like chassis flex and shock rates the normal fan would find to be gibberish... Just my $.02
  • Nothing fundamentally new has been added to the cars. Cars have been transitting real-time telemetry data and video to the pit crews for a long time already-- much more data than what you're seeing on the site. Lately that data has been fed to the television broadcast and now the web.
  • For me to get the data across the net - the Internet - IF it could be streamed quickly enough to be essentially real-time, it would be a waste of bandwidth, imho. As a spectator, what does it add to the "experience"?

    For you, maybe nothing. For someone else, maybe everything. If someone wants to geek out over how well the mechanical geeks did on the car, who are you to tell them that's uninformative?

    I'm not sure I'd want that kind of data from my team's car going out over the internet though; Someone will be sitting with a laptop and a Motorola Mobydem (ha ha) in the other team's pits saying "If you push them just so, their mileage plummets!"

  • what keys do I use, or can I just use my force-feedback wheel?

  • Yay! Finally, GM is more open about having adopted Linux! Even on race cars!

    Oh, wait. They meant Rotations Per Minute, not RedHat Package Manager, didn't they?

    Darn. Well, it'll still be cool. I hope someday we do have a linux-powered car....
  • Holy crap! The video is currently showing the pit crew and they're working at 174MPH / 7000 RPM and there's not a single car in sight! That's dedication, I tell you.

  • ...the community'd have to write them!

    Just like we did with Tulip (probably >50% of all PCI NICs), SB Live!, sound cards in general!

    Of course, it'd be in the best interest of GM to just support the hardware out-of-the-box, but we'd need to pressure them to make sure the drivers are under the GPL.
  • by grahamkg ( 5290 ) on Saturday June 17, 2000 @09:32AM (#996243)

    It is difficult for me to see this one as having any value. At 100 mi/hr (160 km/hr), things happen rather quickly. The vehicle moves at nearly 150ft/sec or 50m/sec. In-car cam views across the net may be technically interesting, but I don't see this being the way to watch a race in the future. (The idea of engine status monitoring over the net is funny at best.)

    Now, what *would* be helpful is for certain practical info to be made available in realtime. What lap is being run? What was the top speed of the last lap? What are the positions of the drivers? If this kind of info was typically available on the net, I'd probably watch races on the tv along with following it on the net.


  • by 1337d00d ( 177978 ) on Saturday June 17, 2000 @09:27AM (#996244)
    ...would there be enough drivers for Linux based cars?
  • Hmm. ESPN and ABC have been doing this for at least two race seasons. True, no IR, but RPM, braking and g-forces are all there.

    Have you watched a race.. ever?

  • by BluedemonX ( 198949 ) on Saturday June 17, 2000 @09:36AM (#996246)
    Heck, I'd watch that if I could see readouts of:

    1) The number of decals, T-shirts, etc. of that particular driver on sale at Wal Mart, Tennessean strip mall racin' memorabilia shops, etc.

    2) The inebriation level of the audience.

    3) How many teeth the average audience member has.

    4) Amount of advertising revenue the driver has at that moment from snack foods, breakfast dishes at Denny's, etc

    5) The number of "Stone Cold Steve Austin" shirts in the audience

    6) Number of cases of "new, NASA grade surfractant synthetic polyamorous engine lubricant performance engine oil" audience members are considering buying even though audience members have on average 2 cars, one of which is held together with duct tape and Bondo and the other of which is on blocks in front of the trailer

    7) Number of people that actually have the revelation that you're awarding someone a trophy for DRIVING IN A CIRCLE REAL FAST.

    8) Number of people incensed at some weird ending (they have to pace lap the last three laps or something cause Jeff Gordon made someone clip him and he always does that, I hate Jeff Gordon yee haw ah seckind that, pass the Jack Danyils, etc)
  • It's not exactly like they have a satilite connection riding on the back of the car. They have had this information going to the pits for several years.. They need to know how the car is running; how much fuel is left; oil level; oil temperature.. in order to spot problems.

    This is a 24 hour race - they have time to do extensive repairs and still come out in a decent position...
    It's more of the "well, the pits have this information.. why don't we plug it into the net.. and share it with everyone intrested?".

    So.. offering this information doesn't weigh down the car any; uses the same antenna and computer as would normally be there.. just requires more processing power at the pit.. (Which, when you're working with a car that costs $750,000 (without the engine, of course), doesn't really seem like a big deal to have someones laptop hooked up to the datastream ;p)
  • ...that I watch every other race. In the hopes that I'll catch a glimpse of a flaming crash, of course, this time from a first-person-view.

    I swear, you could loop a few minutes of tape, occasionally edit in a fiery pile-up once in a while. It would look just the same, and you wouldn't have to pay for all those expensive racecars. Yeah, it would be fake, but so is Pro Wrestling, which I imagine will share a good portion of the target demographic.
  • Ferrari and all of the other high-performance engine producers has been doing race analysis for many years now.

    The CAN (car area network) is one of many automotive technologies that's gone from race-course to shopping mall. Sensors all over the car send back their data to a central computer.

    Telemetry (from both accelerometers and gps/loran-like triangulators) can assist dead-reckoning analysis. "Did I take that corner too wide?" And temperatures and revolutions can be measured at many critical points, including tires, brakes, oil, engine block, tranny, etc.

  • Sure they do. Also they have moved most of the car cams inside because4 the external roofcams added close to 50 lbs of downforce. We did some initial work with broadcasting the signal via a set of web pages. However with having to repaint the entire screen constantly it just didn't work out too well.

    As for the teams using the telemetry, Bill France said that this gives an unfair advantage to the team, NASCAR tries to keep everything even.

  • Hmmm.... A Linux based car. Go to add a $1 'pine car fresh' rear view mirror device, and have to spend days writting the drivers to make it smell right.... HEHE PuppyDogg
  • The idea of engine status monitoring over the net is funny at best.

    Not if you're in to the sport. Going fast and turning left is only part of it. The real competition happens in the garage area. It's a 200 MPH chess game, balancing downforce with RPM and mildly tweaking 7000+ variables to get that extra 1/100 Sec advantage over your opponent.

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Saturday June 17, 2000 @09:45AM (#996253)
    ~$ telnet

    Connected to
    Escape character is '^]'.
    Welcome to Car 54, find out where we are!
    CarMon version 0.99b

    Cockpit temp: 108F
    Gas: 68% +/- 5%
    Driver: Agitated
    Reason: Gotta pee *really bad*
    Car speed: 180 MPH
    Number of people logged in: 48391

    Cockpit temp: 123F
    Gas: 45% +/- 5%
    Driver: Agitated
    Reason: Gotta pee *really bad*
    Car speed: 245 MPH
    Number of people logged in: 92838

    Broadcast message from driver (pts/1) Sat Jun 17 06:14:54 2000...
    The system is going down to maintenance mode NOW !!

    Connection to remote host lost.

    ~$ _

  • Speed Vision is covering almost all 24 hours of this race, I think I'd rather just watch that due to the witty commentators and not having to deal with bandwidth issues.

    Last I checked 3 of the Cadilacs have droped out of the race. One even burned up. The Audis are kicking ass, as usual.

"Plastic gun. Ingenious. More coffee, please." -- The Phantom comics