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Audible Flagging Systems becomes Trans Am Series flagging system

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#1
Johnny D

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26037642_1551154701642862_84495179677664

 

The Trans Am Race Company announced today that it has reached an agreement with Audible Flagging Systems (AFS), now the Official Flagging System Provider of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli. AFS, an industry leader for in-car race flagging systems, will be installed in all Trans Am racecars to warn drivers of caution flags immediately and simultaneously. The system is proven to also minimize secondary collisions, which can be particularly dangerous and damaging.

 

The onboard system not only flashes a brilliant yellow light inside the car but also emits an audible warning tone to alert competitors of caution conditions. The AFS system will debut in the Trans Am Series come the season opener at Sebring International Raceway, March 2-4, where it will be featured on all participating vehicles.

 

"This reflects our absolute commitment to safety," said Tony Parella, majority owner of the Trans Am Series. "We are providing this to our race teams free of charge. Safety is vital, but we also do not want to impose more costs on team owners. In addition to reducing injuries, teams should realize material cost savings by mitigating equipment damage."

 

AFS is not intended to become the new form of communication between drivers and race control and does not replace race control, corner workers, or driver spotters. AFS is an advanced technology tool directed by race control officials to more immediately warn drivers of hazards. By assisting all drivers' responses to caution scenarios, the frequency and severity of on-track incidents can be sharply reduced. The system is designed to evolve to support both full-course or even local or isolated yellows. AFS is expected to be a vital aid to corner workers and safety crews as they strive to quickly and safely respond to dangerous on-track situations.

 

"Our research tells us that 88 percent of driver injuries occur during secondary incidents," said Mike Parsons, AFS Chairman. "I think all of us in racing can think of tragic situations that might have been averted if an in-car visual and audible warning system had been in place. I believe it is time that all racing sanctioning bodies take note and follow Trans Am's lead in driver safety. We are delighted to work with Trans Am to contribute to the safety and efficiency of their sport. Aside from safety, the cost savings to teams should be significant."

 

"Anything we can do to protect and alert everyone involved is critical," said John Clagett, president of The Trans Am Race Company. "This is also for the safety of corner workers and safety workers who are on the running surface managing emergency situations. The integration of AFS in our race cars is a vital step towards the number one priority of Trans Am, the safety of our competitors."


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#2
OrangeCrush86

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I'll save everyone some time. https://audibleflagging.com/

 

With modern technology and hardware, a system like this is almost trivial to build. I hope the cost is reasonable so that all road racing can have access to a system like this. However I'm sure the "racing" price multiplier has already been added.


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#3
dstevens

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The top tier series have been doing remote caution warnings like this for a while.   The cost isn't in the car hardware it's in the service and the administration of the service.   Then you'd need to get something that had that kind of transmission distance using freqs that didn't require licenses and can cover an entire circuit.

 

When I was racing stock cars we had an audible system but it was the race dir barking in our headsets.  The non spotter classes had listen only sets and the spotter classes had to have it routed to the driver headset/helmet.

 

EDIT:  Here you go, a simplex repeater using an RPi.  The implementation and details are different but the concept is the same.  I'd have to look at the FCC regs to see if it's usable on a business radio channel.  I'd imagine that's what these guys are doing is using a UHF freq to radio the alert and light to the cars.  

 


Edited by dstevens, 01-14-2018 09:21 PM.


#4
Jim Creighton

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It's not complicated. Our short track series has it in addition to "barking in the drivers ears". BTW, that system of "barking in their ears" allows race control to warn drivers immediately of what and where the danger is so that everyone can take evasive action. Rather than seeing a yellow flag or light, the driver hears that a car has spun out in such and such a turn and exactly what part of the track is affected or there is oil or debris which is creating a hazard. But, if SCCA ever moves to that, they will need to have a person on the radio who can clearly and precise communicate.

 

The lights are ok to communicate a full course situation A radio is exact.



#5
dstevens

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It's not complicated. Our short track series has it in addition to "barking in the drivers ears". BTW, that system of "barking in their ears" allows race control to warn drivers immediately of what and where the danger is so that everyone can take evasive action. Rather than seeing a yellow flag or light, the driver hears that a car has spun out in such and such a turn and exactly what part of the track is affected or there is oil or debris which is creating a hazard. But, if SCCA ever moves to that, they will need to have a person on the radio who can clearly and precise communicate.

 

The lights are ok to communicate a full course situation A radio is exact.

 

 

You don't know this RD. :wacko:   Complete asshat, full throttle yell.   Informing good.  Yelling and barking bad. 

 

Functionally it's another radio channel.    A tone or voice is transmitted and the receiver triggers the light locally.  The rub for doing in on the cheap or open source is being able to get a freq that transmits the distance of a road circuit while either being unlicensed and portable or licensed for a particular area and have the system agile enough to change channels.  Not insurmountable but from a regulatory perspective you can't just put anything anywhere on the spectrum you wish. The parts and function are dead simple.  One could be cobbled together in a couple of hours with off the shelf parts.

 

That said I don't see it workable for regional.  The big boys have integrated radio systems and support from a trackside vendor.  Regions (bless their heart) have a hard enough time getting volunteers with deep technical skill sets.  It requires equipment to be purchased or rented.  We've just started to swap out 300 analog radios on the show with digital radios.  Doing something like this with the new system we have is baked in.  https://www.motorola...trbo-story.html  The rub is everyone (including the region) would have to be on that same system.   That's a non starter.

 

If you are going to do it for hobby racing it needs to be, in order, a) affordable,  b )easy to use c) readily available.  I put this in the "nice to have" category and not the "must have" category.  If you wanted to implement a system where you used voice it's easy enough to transmit to a Raceceiver or even a scanner locked on channel to the drivers.  You'd then use a passive combiner to mix the outputs of both radios to your headset/earbuds.

 

39710385561_4a2b31e8b9.jpgbkX1Znw by Dave Stevens, on Flickr



#6
Jim Creighton

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I know the folks with Racing Radios pretty well. Just for fun, I'll ask them what it would take. Start only with Majors. I'm confident we could get at track support, at least for start up. Costs?? Not sure but that stuff has gotten cheaper.

 

We have had only 3 different people in control in the past 25 years. Well balanced, very professional in their operations in the position. Heck, I was back up for a couple of races and all the sudden, the race director got up, said take over and walked out of the room. Of course, nothing happened for the 20 or so laps I was "running" the race. Apparently, there was a situation where the at track ambulance had received a local critical call and control was verifying that we would have coverage before they left the facility. All was handled in less than 5 minutes and I survived. I was soon transferred to the spotters stand where I have happily remained during races for six years. I get to hear about the debris on the track with 10 laps to go and the leader out front by several seconds. Amazing the second place car always finds that debris. I just shake my head no. Kind of like in SCCA SM tech!!


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#7
OrangeCrush86

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Any experts on the SCCA organization know who is essentially in charge of "technology"? I agree adopting a system like this needs to be top down. Even better if NASA and SCCA used the same system.


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#8
dstevens

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Racing Radios is great.  I've used their stuff for years.  

 

The easiest way to do it is to use this Raceceiver  http://raceceiver.com/legendplus.aspx.  (they didn't have this one when I was running circle track)   You would plug your radio audio out into that then plug your buds/headset into the Raceceiver.  It acts like the combiner I referenced in the previous post.  You just wouldn't have the dash light.  It also ducks the volume of your normal race radio when the track calls so if your crew were talking to you their volume would dim down when the track called.  The track would use a UHF radio/base station to broadcast race control alerts on one channel (you set the Raceceiver to that) and your team communicates through your regular team channel using your existing radio system.



#9
Jim Creighton

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Hey, idea. Maybe it's too big a jump to get all of SCCA to do this, But, Spec Miata has been a driving force in having a lot of things changed. Maybe this is something to consider for SM in the future. Start it there and see how it progresses. File it away for future discussions. As I said, when I see the Racing Radios folks in March at our first race, I'll see what they think.

 

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#10
Mark McCallister

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That $109 Raceceiver solution sounds like a great way to get started.  Minimal investment required by track, region, or driver.  I imagine long tracks would require repeaters.  I would love to have all drivers hear "full course yellow" "red flag red flag" "oil down on back straight" or "turn 3 waving yellow go left" in everyone's ears simultaneously - we could save a lot of secondary incident crash damage that way...


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#11
dstevens

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If race control had a 50 or 100 watt mobile radio ("base station") with the proper antenna you wouldn't need a repeater.  You'd basically be "Race Control Radio, KRSH, (or WREK on the east coast) Home of the Hits"...

 

You know this might be a good opportunity for a radio vendor to provide the base station and antenna and a few Raceivers to show off what you can do.  (coughcough Shawn...)    :angel:






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