Tech Tuesday: Circuit of the Americas

by TYLER SIESWERDA / KVUE News and ERIN COKER / Photojournalist

kvue.com

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 11:40 PM

AUSTIN -- Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsports. It has the most expensive cars, the highest speeds, and the biggest rewards.

One year ago the top class of racing descended on the ultimate track, Circuit of the Americas.

As the first earth was moved just southeast of downtown Austin in 2010, COTA partnered with AT&T because of the communication giant's relationship with F1's top team, Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

"We went around the world with them. We learned a lot from them and what the racing experience was. Our engineers said, 'We think we can do it even better,'" said Tracy King, Vice President of Public Affairs for AT&T. "We brought to them some technology and innovation with their engineers and our engineers and made this the most technologically advanced track in the world today. "

It was done using an IP network King explained, "It's an Internet protocol network that allows us to travel all the voice, all the data, and all the video."

More than 120 miles of cable and fiber are buried beneath the circuits 3.4 miles. Communication antennae and cameras feed it all into the tracks central nervous system. That spot is called race control. It is a room with 44 cameras that monitor all the data in real time.

The difference between winning and losing in F1 sometimes boils down to a thousandth of a second.  That is why the instantaneous information being fed to all 11 teams is where the real power lies.  McLaren says one of its cars can record more than 250 channels of data, which are monitored one thousand times a second.  That's more than a billion pieces of data for one car in one race.

"They know exactly what's going on with the tires. They know exactly what's going on with the engine.  They know exactly what's going on with the race because of the sensors that we've built into the track itself.  The teams love it because they are now able to do modeling back in their European offices and quickly get that data in real time back to the teams in the pits, and they can make modifications to the car in real time, race time," King explained.

Just as Formula 1 cars are the test labs for technology you may one day see in your car, COTA has become the proving ground for technology that may one day drive your home.

"What we've learned at this track we are using to refine our technology to make consumer applications, to make broader network applications."

And while that happens, the rest of the racing world is now playing catch-up with Circuit of the Americas. According to King, "This became the track everybody wanted to be. So now tracks around the world are actually starting to retrofit themselves to integrate this technology into their tracks so they can be as good as COTA is."

Check out the map below for COTA's high tech details.

 

 

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