At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Intel is making very clear it plans to completely broaden its scope of work, products and partnships. One of the boldest moves, no doubt, is the decision by the company to form a three-year partnership with Ferrari North America to deploy a small fleet of drones with artificial intelligence that will capture videos during races.
The plans were unveiled earlier at this week’s conference. The testing grounds of the new technology will be the Ferrari Challenge North America Series, a 7-city tour which is scheduled to kick off on May 12th at the Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca, California, and run for 7 months. The plans involve using the data captured by the drones in real time for providing telematic information between drivers and crews with the overall aim being improving time between laps.
To pull this off, the company will utilize a suite of its in-house technology: its Xeon Scalable platform with its 14-nanometer microarchitecture, as well as other AI products (the Intel Nervana Neural Network Processor (NNP) is most likely a part of this).
Intel outlined the most immediate benefits it believes the technology will have on the race car driving industry:
-Access to Real-time Analysis of Driver Performance: In terms of performance analysis, telematic information is most often used after the race. However, with the help of the AI-supported combination of machine learning technology and algorithms, drivers, as well as their crew, will be provided with insights—or even storylines and profiles generated about individual drivers—all with the aim of guiding them in small, yet effective ways towards improving.
Enhanced Perspectives: Object detection provided by the visual video feed would offer several points of comparison about drivers and laps.
AI-Enhanced Analysis: Intel makes the strong case that the equipment “can automatically recognize and identify subtle variations that may go unnoticed by a human analyst.”
Intel has also recently provided more details about its autonomous vehicle platform, which is also in the works.
The company hopes to expand the capabilities of the technology in the future if all goes well this year, incorporating even more telemetric data into the analysis, such as throttle pressure, braking pressure and steering angle. Who knows, this technology could also be used to make predictions about a driver’s performance. This information would no doubt be used in the wrong way by people who place bets based on their predicted odds of winning (Perhaps its best to keep the drone technology inside of the pit crew, just to be on the safe side).
Intel's work is really the essence of the CES conference: to integrate new and pre-existing technology capabilities to utilize them in new and innovative ways. With the announcement of its plans with Ferrari America, it seems a new era in racecar driving has been inaugurated.