Another World First – Measuring Live Motorsport Emotions with Goodwood Festival of Speed

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The Festival of Speed at Goodwood House. Does any event better exemplify the emotion and passion of motorsport?

Note: for the main article on this project, jump over here:

This year was the festival’s 25th anniversary and we had the honour of bringing some Sensum magic to the sunbaked grounds of that magnificent Sussex estate. Goodwood challenged us to connect motoring fans with the thrill of the estate’s famous Hillclimb track, while demonstrating some concepts about the potential future of motorsport.

Watch the video above for a quick overview of Sensum at Goodwood Festival of Speed. And stay tuned for some great content from the event coming soon.

Since its first year the Festival of Speed has stood against convention and introduced audiences to new ideas. In 2017 they launched a bold venture to bring visitors face-to-face with new technology, by building the Future Lab pavilion in the middle of the festival site. Future Lab was a big hit so in 2018 the Goodwood team increased scope of the Lab, and this time added Sensum to the roster.

Critically, this project was a chance to extend the reach of Future Lab out of the pavilion and into the festival grounds. Our team ran about the site, putting biometric sensors on supercar drivers, superbike riders, a stunt driver and even a jetpack pilot before they performed. The data was collected and synced by our custom app in a smartphone carried by the racer, then transmitted into our processing pipeline to relay a real-time feed of the racer’s emotional state. Visitors to the Future Lab pavilion could then interact with the data via touchscreens as it came in live.

Goodwood Dashboard Screen Anthony Reid
Interactive data visuals show veteran race champion Anthony Reid staying pretty 'ice cool' in his BAC Mono supercar
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In bringing us to the table Goodwood gave us a platform for another world first: measuring the live emotional response of racers on the Hillclimb. The feedback we got from the racers, general public and automotive industry at the event was just what we had hoped for: opening their eyes to the potential of a fascinating new area of technology.

Special mentions should be made to Equivital, for providing their sensor gear, which keeps on proving its reliability and accuracy when we take it to some of the toughest environments imaginable. And to Catapult, who made the data visuals and touchscreen interaction possible, as part of their wonderfully immersive designs for Future Lab.

As we continue on our mission to bring empathic AI to the mobility sector, this year’s Festival of Speed gave us a chance to help new audiences explore some challenging themes for future tech. For motorsport, the ability to automatically measure and understand the racer’s emotional and physiological state can assist in optimising both their wellbeing and performance. It offers an addition to the data toolset that a race team uses as they go down the road towards that elusive sporting dream: the accumulation of marginal gains. Many innovations in the automotive world start their lives in the experimental, success-driven world of racing before trickling down to everyday consumer vehicles. At this year’s Goodwood, we all got to take one more step towards that future.

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Ben Bland

Chief Operations Officer