Feel the hillclimb

21st October 2018
Lucy Johnston

Among the many and varied 25th anniversary celebrations at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer, the FoS Future Lab pavilion staged a unique activation aimed at bringing a new level of technological innovation and viewer engagement to the Hillclimb.

This world-first project, specially commissioned by Goodwood for FOS Future Lab, saw the Belfast-based empathic technology company Sensum collaborate closely with the Goodwood track team and the hillclimb supercar drivers to bring advanced emotional data analytics to viewers of a live motorsport event, for the first time.

The trial utilised Equivital chest sensors to measure the drivers’ biometric data – heart rate, temperature and breathing rate – which was sent directly to Sensum’s analytics platform via smartphone from the driver’s pocket. The smartphone GPS also enabled tracking of driver speed and acceleration. This combined dataset was then processed and visualised as interactive infographics, designed by Artists & Engineers, on a large touchscreen table in FOS Future Lab.

A final, unique metric – the Driver State – was specially devised and programmed through Sensum’s platform, to clearly describe each driver’s fluctuations of emotion across the duration of their hillclimb drive – on a scale from Ice Cool to Wild. This metric proved a particularly compelling way for visitors to really understand how each driver was feeling and also to be able to compare, for example, the feelings of supercar drivers versus superbike riders.

Through developing and staging this project, Sensum made it possible – for the first time in motorsport – to view the previously unmapped emotional responses of drivers subjected to the pressure and excitement of tackling the world-famous Hillclimb. But this is just the beginning – the potential is clearly huge, across the motorsport industry. Simply put – fans can now see how it feels to be a racing driver in action. And the drivers and their race teams also benefit, being able to understand how the body is subconsciously responding to the range of factors and stresses experienced during a race. The potential of this type of analysis to create marginal gains in competition is discussed further in the full Sensum report, which has been published here, along with analysis and key findings from the activation.

A full Gear virtual realtity experience – complete with data overlays – where you can ride with two of Porsche’s drivers, Mark Higgins and Esmee Hawkey during their evening test runs on the Hillclimb, is now live on the Oculus VR store.  And if you don’t have a headset you can experience the 360 versions on Sensum’s YouTube and VeeR channels.

  • Feel the Hillclimb

  • Sensum

  • Porsche

  • 911

  • Mark Higgins

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