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F1 Simulators Revealed

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the that-is-the-simulator-I-want dept.

Open Source 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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72 comments

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But F1? (1, Funny)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256302)

I thought F1 was the help key? I guess people in simulators need help too.

key question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256316)

what can it do for porn ?

on the subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256318)

While we're on the subject, let me give a plug to the fine folks who make the Inside Sim Racing [insidesimracing.tv] video podcast. Not the best production quality, and they're definitely a little on the dorky side. But they're passionate about sim racing and racing games and they do an excellent job covering the field.

J98 (4, Informative)

Jarryd98 (1677746) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:J98 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256408)

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.

Exactly. Making a jump to conclusion that all the teams use the same thing is kind of weird. I wouldn't be surprised if this is Hispania or one of the other low income teams.

Re:J98 (1)

f0d (528420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33259388)

The full article in the magazine mentions being less than 100 miles from London so it can't be Hispania! That means, McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes or Force India.

Re:J98 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33260162)

I suspect it's Lotus. They're based in Hingham.

Re:J98 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33262084)

or Renault or Prodrive - both are in Oxfordshire 100 miles from London

No Surprise (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33258540)

Many military simulators have X-Plane code at their heart, so why not racing?

oops. (1, Offtopic)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256344)

Posting to remove an accidental mod.

Re:oops. (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256452)

You have first post though... I'm confused.

Re:oops. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33257926)

Your parent moderated someone, but a moderator can't post in a thread they are modding. If they do, all the moderations get reversed.

Most advanced sport??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256370)

C'mon, this is nothing but PR hyperbole. F1 may be nice to watch, but innovation never occurs here. On the contrary; for instance, it only took them 30 years to discover the existence of automatic clutches... And I'm not (only) trolling.

Re:Most advanced sport??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33257180)

you have no idea what you are talking about

Re:Most advanced sport??? (3, Informative)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261616)

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.

Re:Most advanced sport??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33284600)

Sorry, that's just plain wrong.

Cars with automatic transmissions will accelerate faster than with a manual transmission due to constant acceleration through the "slurred" gear changes, and F1 cars do not use "commercially available automatic gearing".

Automatic gearboxes came back into F1 because they are faster than changing the gears manually. Less time spent changing gears manually means more time concentrating on the road. And an F1 driver does not drive "single footed", they use one foot for braking and one for acceleration as do most professional drivers.

"..more complex engine and gear types..." ...nonsense.

95% of all stats on the interwebs are fabricated.

Glad to see (0, Offtopic)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256386)

That in a country that was just told by the government of the EU to violate the Maastricht limit and increase their debt to GDP ratio to 90% (instead of the cap at 60%) by taking on bad debt from WestLB and Hypo Real Estate, they still have money for this. Because in Europe most universities and their expensive research programs are fully dependent on government subsidies. You tax dollars at work. Or at play, in this case. At least every German citizen should get to have a go for free.

Re:Glad to see (2, Interesting)

DasIch (1879082) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256426)

On the other side the german economy has the biggest growth in europe with over 2%, looks we do get something right.

Re:Glad to see (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256442)

On the other side the german economy has the biggest growth in europe with over 2%, looks we do get something right.

      I would argue that copying the "American school" of economics and printing money to stimulate growth isn't really growth at all. It's like the Americans rejoicing that their exports are up. Well yeah, their dollar is worth next to nothing, of course buying American is getting cheaper for the rest of the world. Just wait till Joe Sixpack wants to buy his Made in China, well, everything, at Wal Mart or Target...

Re:Glad to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256516)

I would argue that copying the "American school" of economics and printing money to stimulate growth isn't really growth at all.

To be honest, the Germans are good at that in their own right. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Glad to see (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33264884)

I prefer Notgeld [wikipedia.org] (which was created in the aftermath of WWI hyperinflation). I collect international currency, and notgeld is some of the most artistic stuff out there [germannotgeld.com] .

Re:Glad to see (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#33260084)

"On the other side the german economy has the biggest growth in europe with over 2%, looks we do get something right.
              I would argue that copying the "American school" of economics and printing money to stimulate growth isn't really growth at all."

You know that Germans are within the eurozone so they don't print their money at all, do you?

Re:Glad to see (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33257006)

indeed Engineering gets the respect it deserves in Germany unlike the UK

Re:Glad to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33257080)

You'd like to think so wouldn't you...

-- The Irish.

P.S. Thanks for the bailout.

Re:Glad to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256450)

In europe we're happy to see our tax "dollars" spent on research, and we're equally happy to fund universities. Just because you don't approve doesn't mean we don't.

Re:Glad to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256540)

Yeah but when will it be available to the public??

Re:Glad to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256834)

Love it. An article on using free software yields to a wandering blather about financial policies of Germany, of all places. At least if they want to scale it to "every German citizen", the license costs will be linear... Good morning SD readers!

Re:Glad to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33258498)

At least every German citizen should get to have a go for free.

Quick, somebody should... Wait, german citizens already go to university for free...

Re:Glad to see (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#33260102)

"Quick, somebody should... Wait, german citizens already go to university for free..."

And no speed limit on their autobahn, so why would they want a simulator?

Re:Glad to see (1)

gssgss (1678482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261742)

building works in their autobahn. ;-P

Not the first (2, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256396)

The CyberMotion Simulator isn't the first to use an industrial robot as the motion platform for a game. When I visited Legoland (Billund) in 2004, they had several robots set up as a thrillride, with the robot going through a user-programmable motion pattern.

Most advanced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256400)

Most advanced != most left turns

Re:Most advanced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256430)

Hey thats one of the reasons I wath F1, they have left turns, right turns, hairpins, high speed sweeping corners esses...

Oh and they don't stop when it rains, they just change to wet weather tyres.

(I'd watch touring cars if they had that live (British, European or Aussie

Anyway are there any F1 PC racing games around these days?

Red Bull gives you wings (if you're Seb Vettel, but Mark Webber has to wait until they have 2 made...

Re:Most advanced? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256576)

Marks wing seems to work better for flying though.

Re:Most advanced? (1)

cyanid3 (998026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33257428)

Get rFactor and head to http://rfactorcentral.com/ [rfactorcentral.com] and download one of the many available F1 mods.

response time? (4, Informative)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Yep (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256844)

It's all about vectors, not positions. The sim. looked fine to me.

Re:Yep (1)

mr exploiter (1452969) | more than 3 years ago | (#33257706)

Do you even know what vectors are?

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33258318)

The fact that he said it's all about vectors pretty much demonstrates that he does know what vectors are. I work in an aircraft simulation lab for a major aircraft manufacturer.

Regards,
Jason

Re:Yep (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33259954)

Maybe Clarence didn't have clearance to find out what's his vector, victor?

Re:response time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33259988)

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

Re:response time? (2, Informative)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Back in the early 90's (4, Interesting)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256434)

In another iteration of the company I work for (we've had a few mergers), one of the divisions ran a centrifuge for human factors research on pilots. Then someone had the bright idea to turn the technology, and software into an amusement park ride.

It had an enclosed gondola with six axis movement and a display inside to show the environment that was being simulated. The arm spun at a constant rate, and with the gondola at a certain angle it could trick the inner ear to think you were sitting still while you were turning. And then by changing the the angle of the gondola in relation to the centrifugal force vector it could give the sensation of roll, pitch and yaw.

Although the tech was cool, and some parks showed some interest. It never went anywhere because they couldn't figure out a way to get the throughput that the park operators where looking for.

Sounds like that system would be the best of both methods mentioned in the summary.

Re:Back in the early 90's (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33257028)

It never went anywhere because they couldn't figure out a way to get the throughput that the park operators where looking for.

Someone needs to go on the Mars simulator ride at Epcot... it's *precisely* this technology. Pretty cool, too.

Brett.

Re:Back in the early 90's (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 3 years ago | (#33258098)

Wasn't aware that Disney had installed that. Since the company that they had build it for them is based in Pa. It could be the folks we were partnered with on the human factors stuff, as the Navy centrifuge the original work was done was there. My employer sold off the rights during one of the aforementioned mergers to get back to core competencies.

Awesome concept (2, Funny)

Major Downtime (1840554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256436)

Forget the simulator part! Give me an office chair strapped to the robot arm...Imagine delivering those TPS reports without getting up!

Acceleration gives force, not speed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256458)

FTFA: "As a result, there appears to be some delay between the movements on the steering wheel and the sudden, mechanised lurches of the robot arm."

The Acceleration of the arm is what provides the feeling of being pushed out of the corner, not the Speed of it. As far as I can tell from the video, the timing of this is almost perfect.

Re:Acceleration gives force, not speed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256928)

Judging by the video it's a little anemic though and will never be able to simulate the actual amount of g-forces. Currently it doesn't appear to get even close to 1 g.

F1 drivers regularly pull over 5 g while turning and braking. Well over 1 g in acceleration.

Even at the most extreme angle the arm isn't going to be able to apply much more than 1 g and not over 1 g for any significant length of time and nowhere even remotely close to the actual forces in a real car.

ah the memories! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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)

hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256524)

According to Paolo Robuffo Giordano, the man behind the project, the arm has a much larger motion envelope than rival systems, and "allows subjects to be freely displaced in six degrees of freedom in space and even to be placed upside-down".

so it could like, simulate a crash? ugh.
it would be way cooler to use it in a game where spinning in the air is part of the racing element.

My experience with Racer.... (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256550)

Was a few years back, and involved you getting into an accident and having the car fly up off the track, and pirouette in the air fr 15 minutes as it fell through the scenery and everything spun around you....hopefully it's been much improved since then.

Re:My experience with Racer.... (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256638)

The available source code is 2 years old; the linux and mac versions are too. The linux version segfaults on finding my joystick.

Any good car racing sims that work with linux?

Re:My experience with Racer.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33257146)

Some friends claim to run liveforspeed in wine, with logitech wheel etc. I have not tried.

Racing sims that work with linux (1)

forgot_my_nick (1138413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33257340)

>Any good car racing sims that work with linux?

Don't know how good they are, but there are TORCS http://torcs.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] and its fork Speed Dreams http://www.speed-dreams.org/ [speed-dreams.org]

Re:Racing sims that work with linux (1)

heson (915298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33257554)

Torcs is cool or was some years ago whan I tried it, and Berniw is a nice guy.

Re:Racing sims that work with linux (1)

iampiti (1059688) | more than 3 years ago | (#33258036)

I'd call torcs semi-realistic. It's definitely not an arcade racer but the physics don't reach the level of something like GTR Evolution or rFactor. For the moment speed dreams hasn't made too many changes to TORCS so they are pretty much the same

Re:My experience with Racer.... (1)

SureshotM6 (1539779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256810)

Hopefully the robotic arm setup doesn't simulate crashes... 15 minutes of flipping around randomly doesn't sound like fun.

Re:My experience with Racer.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33258314)

Screw these half-assed, broken open source games. I'd rather fire up Split/Second [youtube.com] or Blur [youtube.com] .

A couple things I noticed (1)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256564)

The engineers at the Max Planck Institute suck at driving.

It would only be an accurate simulation of an F1 car if there were slow, single gear F1 cars.

Nothing new - Back in the Amiga days (4, Interesting)

ed (79221) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256600)

David Coultard was about to race at Monaco, but he had never raced there before, so he fired up the Microprose F1 Grand Prix to get used to the course, and won it too!

Re:Nothing new - Back in the Amiga days (5, Informative)

DSmith1974 (987812) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Nothing new - Back in the Amiga days (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33264400)

I remember playing that game ages ago. The manual said that it was what Damon Hill used to prepare for all his races. Back when I was that young I used to believe it: it was so realistic to me...

Now I'm not so sure. On a side note, when you registered the game, they sent you what they said were Damon Hill's set ups for all the courses, but when we tried them out they were actually rubbish! I still have a concern that I just completely missed the point of how to drive that game, and that the set ups were actually awesome.

Open Source? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256612)

Slashdot using the OSI logo as their topic icon for a project which, on it's license page, states an awful lot of confused ideas about what open source might mean, seems a little odd, not to mention the whole not being released under an OSI recognised open source license thing. If people are going to write custom licenses i do wish they'd put some effort into it.

Re:Open Source? (1)

f0d (528420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33259326)

Indeed. Racer is not Open Source - they just publish the source code to their software under copyright. And good on them.

Not as cool as it seems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256648)

All these simulators can load a driver to 1g laterally (by tipping him sideways). The cars themselves can sustain ~5g laterally in a long high radius corner.
Same considerations apply for acceleration and deceleration. Simulation can be useful anyways.

Re:Not as cool as it seems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33256728)

erm....
the arm can move freely?
Better go back to school....

simulator usefulness is artificial (5, Informative)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 [formula1.com] 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.

Re:simulator usefulness is artificial (1)

forgot_my_nick (1138413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33258006)

I've often thought that the stupid rules imposed by the FIA contributed to deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenburger. It's sad to see that 16 years later they are still making senseless rulings.

Re:simulator usefulness is artificial (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33258192)

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

Re:simulator usefulness is artificial (2, Informative)

Phydaux (1135819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262328)

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

It's the data that's crucial, not the software (2, Insightful)

Frescard (807703) | more than 3 years ago | (#33256874)

What brings a package like Racer to a level usable by F1 teams is not so much the software itself (even though the openness of it helps), but the data that it is being fed by the team and their suppliers (e.g. performance and feedback data from the car, professional track scans, etc.).

Since the casual user does NOT have access to these data set, all they're left with is the "empty sheet of paper", on which they can paint their own fantasies, but, just because they're using the same "paper" as a race team, this does not mean that the outcome (the simulation feel) will be the same as that of an F1 team.

So - unless you have some realistic data to plug into it (and to test in real-life feedback loops), don't be under any illusion that it's any better than any other racing sim.

New Canadian Company (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33259124)

Ironic that this comes up on Slashdot at the same time that I learned about a Canadian company opening up with a hexatech simulator - Technologies ERS [erstech.ca] . Apologies for the site being in french - they're based in Quebec. Still, it's a damn cool machine.
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