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Open Source Robotics Software Games Hardware

F1 Simulators Revealed 72

An anonymous reader writes "Racecar Engineering has posted an exclusive look inside the simulator of a leading grand prix team. Particularly interesting is that the Formula 1 team uses software based on the free simulator Racer (with source code available) albeit with a custom vehicle model and hardware interface via CAN-bus. The article highlights the importance that mainstream racing sims (rFactor, iRacing) have in simulation at the pinnacle of the worlds most advanced sport." Along similar lines, reader PatPending writes "Engineers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany (surely the greatest of all institutes) have turned a massive robot arm into a Ferrari F1 simulator, discovering a new strain of awesome in the process. The contraption, known as the CyberMotion Simulator, consists of an industrial robotic arm fitted with a racing seat, a force feedback steering wheel and a 3D simulation of the Monza Formula 1 track beamed from a projector on to a curved display."
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F1 Simulators Revealed

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  • J98 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jarryd98 ( 1677746 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @08:32AM (#33256326)
    Most of the industry is using rF Pro. Despite the constant negativity around the tyre/aero maps with the baseline version of rFactor, I've always been of the opinion that rF is the most scalable sim around. Nice to see RaceCarEngineering get a plug, also. Those guys do good work.
  • response time? (Score:5, Informative)

    by IWannaBeAnAC ( 653701 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @09:09AM (#33256424)

    there appears to be some delay between the movements on the steering wheel and the sudden, mechanised lurches of the robot arm. This is particularly noticeable at 00:51 into the video, where the driver veers left then right, only for his movements to be mimicked by the arm approximately a second later.

    I'm not sure that is true. At the incident at 00:51, the arm is moving to the left of picture, and then suddenly starts moving to the right. It is the acceleration that counts, not the position or speed. The sudden acceleration from moving left to moving right appears to happen right on the moment the driver turns the wheel; the fact that it takes the arm some time to move to the right of picture is irrelevant.

  • ah the memories! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 15, 2010 @09:33AM (#33256490)

    of a dorky kid aged 16 who in 1969 had a 'flight' in the rear seat of an RAF Phantom F4 Simulator on his first day at work.

    Maybe that inspired me to get a degree in Control Systems Engineering and get involved with real Aircraft Avionic Systems design ever since?

    Back on topic.
    The Motion system used in the car simulator is clearly based upon the '6-axis' Link Miles design of the early 1970's and adopted by most European Flight Simulator makers since (Redifon, Thales etc)

  • by DaveGod ( 703167 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @10:33AM (#33256708)

    I'm surprised to learn that occasionally, even during grand prix weekends, they continue to use a test driver in the simulator and feed information back to the team trackside.

    I'm not. Not at all.

    The high reliance on simulators is not necessarily because it is in any way better than physical testing. The FIA now severely limit [] the amount of physical testing that can be done.

    It's now regular for a team to receive updated parts mid week straight from the factory and the first real-world testing is the Friday practice session, the day before qualifying. This Friday is effectively the only testing day, since the car you complete your time in during qualifying is literally put in a bag and only opened shortly before the race. This is also why drivers who for whatever reason have no chance of gaining anything from finishing a race do so anyway; they use it as free testing time.

  • by DSmith1974 ( 987812 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @10:51AM (#33256790)
    Ok, but that's just to familiarize himself with the course - any game will do. F1 teams have now developed plug-ins for rFactor which are so true to life that the drivers are able to give feedback to the designers on new components, suspension and set-up before investing millions in actually making the things and flying them out to Spain or wherever to try them out on a race track for real. Combine this with the GIS data collected from the laser trucks and the simulator knows about every single bump and groove on the track down to the nearest milli-meter. It's really quite amazing - and keeps a fair few Phd boffins employed in interesting jobs for each of the big teams.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 15, 2010 @03:41PM (#33258192)

    Its not senseless, its an effort to reduce annual F1 budgets by $100 million per year per team.

  • Re:response time? (Score:2, Informative)

    by IWannaBeAnAC ( 653701 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @09:41PM (#33260046)

    Acceleration IS position and speed. Seriously, did you give the smallest bit of thought before you wrote that?

    I guess you never studied physics? Acceleration, speed (more correctly, velocity) and position are all different concepts. Velocity is the rate of change of position. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. You can be accelerating and have zero velocity, for example. Eg, throw a ball into the air, and it is continually accelerating under gravity at 9.8 m/sec. But if you throw it straight up then there is a moment at the top of the trajectory where its velocity is zero.

    In the video, the arm is moving to the left of screen, and then it starts accelerating to the right. For the first second or so of this acceleration, the velocity of the arm is to the left, while the acceleration is to the right.

  • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:27AM (#33261616) Homepage

    Commercially available automatic gearing degrades performance with 25% (for an average driver, much more for a good one). There is no reason a professional drivers would volunteer to waste that much performance just so they can rest one foot while driving. The automatics have only reentered professional racing due to new more complex engine and gear types, that are harder for a human but easier for a computer to control.

  • by Phydaux ( 1135819 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:19AM (#33262328)

    No one has died in F1 since Senna. I think their rules changes have probably helped.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."