FIA and Siemens partner to improve Rally spectator safety

  • Project aims to improve safety for spectators and drivers at FIA sanctioned Rally events
  • Solutions include advanced sensor fusion and image classification; connected vehicle technology; extensive 3D modeling and pre-race simulation of vehicles, sensor networks
  • Learnings from project will benefit pedestrian safety in urban environments

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and Siemens recently announced the start of a project aimed at improving the safety of spectators and drivers at Rally events around the world.

“The FIA leads the agenda to connect motorsports and urban mobility in order to inspire change and create a transformative impact on people’s lives”, said Jean Todt, President of the FIA. “This agreement between Siemens and the FIA on a project that involves R&D at the highest level of motor sport and urban transportation technology will enable us to make racing safer and significantly influence the development of transportation in smart cities.”
“In the age of increasingly automated vehicles, racing will be an essential testbed for the automotive industry, which needs the widest array of data and the most challenging environments to continue to build and train advanced autonomous, connected and electric automotive technologies,” says Edward Bernardon, vice president strategic automotive initiatives at Siemens PLM Software.

“We look forward to working with the FIA to determine how automated and connected vehicle technologies can be leveraged to make race Rally drivers and spectators safer and applying what we learn to improve intelligent infrastructure and pedestrians’ safety in urban mobility environments,” added Marcus Welz, President of Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems in North America.

The project will explore how a combination of technologies from Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems and Siemens PLM Software can be used to improve the detection of spectators in dangerous locations, and thus make it easier for race organizers and drivers to take preventative and/or immediate action to avoid accidents. Through this partnership, unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show, the FIA will leverage Siemens’ expertise in chip-to-city engineering in real-world autonomous and connected vehicle applications. Outcomes from this project will directly benefit efforts to improve pedestrian safety in cities.

Last year more than four million spectators attended Rally events, which take place on stages that can stretch across more than 25 kilometers. This can make it difficult for race organizers to monitor an entire stage, which are often on relatively narrow dirt and gravel roads that cut through diverse terrain, further hampering efforts of drivers and spotters to watch for fans who may be in harm’s way.

The first step in solving this problem is creating an advanced 2D and 3D simulation using vehicle and trackside arrayed sensor-based systems deployed on Rally stages. These systems include:

  • rapid-fire fusion of data from vehicle sensors via custom neural networking and AI to add a safety-layer around the human-driven vehicles; and
  • intelligent infrastructure technology including X2X communications that will create a safety-enabling network at Rally events, connecting drivers, spotters, race organizers and spectators

In addition, the unique combination of FIA and Siemens expertise, honed in the extreme environment of racing, will accelerate efforts already underway to make city roads safer.