As a kid, I used to have remote control racing toys. To drive the car, some were attached to a long wire, but the newer ones were radio-controlled. I imagined rounding the corners of an imaginary runway in my living room that often crashed into the legs of furniture.
Earlier this year, Michael Martens, CEO of Riedel Networks, called to ask if we could participate in a project to remotely connect a driver to an electric race car. The car will travel with the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria at speeds of over 200 km per hour. The pilot will be in Graz, Austria – about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the track in a racing simulator.
This is not a toy, but a very complex, electric race car created by DTM technicians, one of the most famous racing series for touring cars in the world, together with the project manager, Schaeffer. Riedel Networks designed and built the communications network, and Cisco was selected to provide the technology in this collaboration.
At this speed, 20 milliseconds of latency in the connection is expressed in meters. The return time between the driver of the simulator in Graz and the car on the Red Bull Ring is only 2 ms for the WAN and about 5ms for the radio network. This is very close to the speed of light.
Minimize the impact on the environment
Every fan of car racing knows that teams are constantly looking for the next innovation that will provide them with the improvement they need to step on the podium of the winner at the end of the race. Competitions have also always served as a laboratory for innovation – as well as DTM. Spielberg’s distance running shows elements of remote-controlled driving. This allows us to achieve both of our racing goals, while keeping in mind the cost and the environment. Continuous testing of racing cars can help increase emissions. We demonstrate improved resistance to ‘racing tests’ by reducing the carbon footprint required to conduct tests by switching to fully electric vehicles, and by reducing some of the transport and travel required for materials and test personnel to the track.
Sustainability is important for the future of racing and is also a core value of Cisco. Cisco is looking for opportunities to minimize environmental impact in every corner of our business and supply chain. Cisco is looking for ways to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The future of connectivity
With a full-size remote-connected and controlled race car burning around the track, safety would naturally be a concern. This has never been tried and a responsive and secure relationship was essential.
The Riedel Group is a family of technology providers for broadcasting sports and live events. As experts in network and communication solutions and the critical transmission of audio, video and data signals, Riedel is known to supply custom systems for pioneering projects like this.
“We are pushing the boundaries. He has never tried to drive a racing car at this speed of 70 km. Partnering with Cisco for a secure and responsive relationship was essential. “ Michael Martens, CEO of Riedel Networks.
Riedel Networks is a privately held global network service provider focused on custom networks. It is included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant 2021 for Network Services, Global, as a niche provider specializing in medium-sized international and media and sector events. They have designed and implemented the communication architecture for driving the race car Wide area network defined by Cisco software (SD-WAN), and Catalyst 8300 Edge platform for the primary direct fiber connection via MPLS connection. MPLS is fast and extremely reliable. For this reason, some Cisco customers choose to run selected applications in their Cisco SD-WAN architecture over MPLS.
Cisco Catalyst 8300 Series Edge platforms, with a multi-core architecture and powerful hardware-accelerated encryption capabilities, provide a secure, high-performance, and reliable connection. The Cisco Catalyst 8300 provides reliable data transmission with media availability (99.999%), which is required between the car and the remote control simulator.
Driving a car that has over 1,000 fully electrified horsepower with no one on board, you still need a backup plan in the rare event that the MPLS connection crashes. With the exceptional speed of 5G, the architecture is designed to include redundant backup connection using Cisco’s Catalyst Cellular Gateways. In this case, 5G via SD-WAN will become the main transport with multi-gigabit connectivity up to 3.3 Gbps.
The Riedel network not only maintains the remote control connection, but also allows video broadcasts from the car to the driver and from the driver to the pitman on the track. The network also provides internal communications.
Cisco provides SD-WAN technology that provides the flexibility to use any combination of transportation services to securely connect users to data and applications anywhere with an optimized experience.
The impact of the partnership
Each partner in this project provided a critical element to its success, bringing together the highest levels of technology. For Cisco, this initiative helps demonstrate the future of connectivity. The remote control of a driverless car demonstrates:
Reduce testing costs by minimizing material and personal power, as well as reduced travel and transportation costs.
Improves the resilience of “racial tests” by reducing the carbon footprint required to conduct tests.
From racing innovation to your business, there is a bridge. The technology to accomplish this amazing feat is available from Cisco today.
Although I would be very excited to fly this car around the track, remembering what the legs of the furniture in my parent’s living room looked like, I think it’s best for DTM Racing to leave that to the expert driver.
Read the DTM press release in Cisco Newsroom.
Watch a Video discussion with questions and answers led by Cisco’s JL Valente with all partners discussing why this is important.