A pair of auto manufacturing companies have teamed up to put biometric sensors in a fire-retardant undershirt to capture the vital data of race car drivers.
As Autosport’s Adam Cooper reports, Marelli and OMP Racing announced that they have been granted approval by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to develop what will be known as the Vital Signs Monitor, or VISM, to provide the real-time measurements. These measurements will allow race officials to monitor a driver’s stress and fatigue levels by analyzing biometric data like heart rate and breathing via sensors embedded within the fabric.
According to Marelli and OMP, VISM’s three main applications will be to collect data for performance monitoring, safety initiatives — via the constant monitoring of vital signs — and for training purposes.
“VISM is a tool for professional drivers to monitor biometric data,” said Riccardo De Filippi, CEO of Marelli Motorsport. “It is designed with a direct interface to the data acquisition and telemetry systems of a race car and includes end-to-end protection of sensitive data, giving the user full control of its use.”
“The cooperation with Marelli is that kind of teamwork that makes you bless the moment you decided to pick up the phone and propose the project,” Paolo Delprato, OMP Racing CEO, said. “It’s a mutual enrichment and it has produced a great device, which combines safety and performance, ” he added.
This isn’t the only case of racing companies looking to introduce biometrics into racing gear. Formula 1 racewear manufacturer Alpinestars recently announced it was looking into ways to incorporate biometric sensors into the overalls worn by drivers in order to collect and monitor biometric data such as pulse rate and blood/oxygen levels.
Additionally, in 2018, Formula 1 announced plans to introduce biometric sensors stitched into every driver’s gloves after testing the technology with a few racing teams. The purpose of those sensors is to help medics in their assessments of a driver’s condition following an accident by looking at their pulse and oxygen rates, with more sensors planned for the gloves down the road.
As for VISM, further plans and a timeline on its testing stages have yet to be revealed, however the companies did share that the confidentiality and privacy of any data they collect will be of high importance.
De Filippi also noted that the team behind the project may look into commercial applications as well, saying, “We believe this experience is a major step forward in the development of safety systems as well as active driver aids, for passenger cars too.”
June 16, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis