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F1 eyes in-car video screens to replace mirrors, but faces key hurdles


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#1 owenmahamilton

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 15:15

Did anyone see this story on the main Autosport page?

 

https://www.autospor...rdles/10405549/

 

What's everyone's thoughts on this? I've always wondered how any driver manages to see anything in the mirrors, not only because they are very small but also with the amount of vibrations that are put through the cars at high speed.



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#2 SophieB

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 15:58

Did anyone see this story on the main Autosport page?
 
https://www.autospor...rdles/10405549/
 
What's everyone's thoughts on this? I've always wondered how any driver manages to see anything in the mirrors, not only because they are very small but also with the amount of vibrations that are put through the cars at high speed.


I guess I don’t really understand how the screens would be better than the mirrors but if they are, then well, ok, I suppose!

#3 Diablobb81

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 15:59

I guess I don’t really understand how the screens would be better than the mirrors but if they are, then well, ok, I suppose!


The camera shows a better angle than the mirror?

#4 BRG

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 16:01

My current car (2019 Cooper S) has a rear view camera, the size of a large pea.  It produces a wide angle super-clear full-colour picture on the dashboard screen.  Surely even F1, with its limited technical ability, could manage to do the same?  Even the likes of Stroll could see who was behind him with one of those.


Edited by BRG, 28 November 2022 - 16:01.


#5 SophieB

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 16:03

The camera shows a better angle than the mirror?

Is the angle the real problem though? As opposed to the size of the mirrors and the frequent high shakiness of them. Still, as I said, if it’s better and in ways that don’t introduce fresh problems, go for it, as far as I’m concerned.



#6 Afterburner

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 16:40

My head can't help but think this is leading to some sort of Wipeout-like EMP weapon that disables this camera. :lol:



#7 PayasYouRace

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 16:56

We know the mirrors are actually pretty good. I could post my usual helmet cam video, but Lance Stroll’s block at COTA is pretty good evidence too.

The main concern for me in an F1 cockpit is actually that there isn’t that much space for screens anyway, so you might as well have physical mirrors.

#8 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 17:28

I wonder if collision warning systems would be considered driving aids?  Once you start putting cameras on cars, it's a short and obvious path towards active collision avoidance systems.



#9 Clatter

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 17:47

We know the mirrors are actually pretty good. I could post my usual helmet cam video, but Lance Stroll’s block at COTA is pretty good evidence too.

The main concern for me in an F1 cockpit is actually that there isn’t that much space for screens anyway, so you might as well have physical mirrors.

 


I see space in the cockpit being the biggest hurdle. The time to focus mentioned in the article seems a bit of nonsense, as the drivers are looking down at the in car display regularly any way. Thinking about it, they could simply put displays where the mirrors currently are.

Edited by Clatter, 28 November 2022 - 17:50.


#10 Beri

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 17:51

Come 2023 the mirrors will be a lot larger. If that works, I can't see any reason to change that.

#11 SenorSjon

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 18:44

Mercedes investigated camera's for their electric cars, but said the aero gains are minimal. The drivers eyes however focus more easily on a mirror than a screen.

#12 PayasYouRace

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 18:46

I see space in the cockpit being the biggest hurdle. The time to focus mentioned in the article seems a bit of nonsense, as the drivers are looking down at the in car display regularly any way. Thinking about it, they could simply put displays where the mirrors currently are.

 

Overall I think the mirrors are used more as tactical devices: Drivers use them to block each other.

 

They're not a safety device. I've never seen a racing driver use his mirrors to avoid danger, only to potentially cause it. I think Jacques Villeneuve had a point when he said to remove them entirely.



#13 Clatter

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 18:55

Overall I think the mirrors are used more as tactical devices: Drivers use them to block each other.

 

They're not a safety device. I've never seen a racing driver use his mirrors to avoid danger, only to potentially cause it. I think Jacques Villeneuve had a point when he said to remove them entirely.

 


Tend to agree, but the authorities have been letting them get away with it for years.

#14 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 19:13

I don’t think there’s any need to replace the mirrors…they do a pretty good job. It’s the squishy thing in the cockpit that causes the issues.



#15 RacingFan10

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 19:57

As with road cars, I think replacing mirrors with cameras and screens, is nonsense.

Mirrors are so much better in every way: better image quality, don't need electricity, less fragile, total reliability, cheaper...



#16 danmills

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:52

A screen is just gonna be showing exactly what the mirror should and would be showing, except probably half the physical size or smaller if screen based.

So just make the mirrors in a better position surely, duh? Unless they're going USN HUD visor tech...

#17 Winterapfel

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 21:02

Surely those screens will weigh more than mirrors?

#18 ANF

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 22:45

Overall I think the mirrors are used more as tactical devices: Drivers use them to block each other.
 
They're not a safety device. I've never seen a racing driver use his mirrors to avoid danger, only to potentially cause it. I think Jacques Villeneuve had a point when he said to remove them entirely.

Here's a few who do:



#19 Dolph

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 00:57

Overall I think the mirrors are used more as tactical devices: Drivers use them to block each other.

 

They're not a safety device. I've never seen a racing driver use his mirrors to avoid danger, only to potentially cause it. I think Jacques Villeneuve had a point when he said to remove them entirely.

 

Pretty useful to notice someone pulling along side you and in blue flag situations. You see someone in the mirror and their position and based on how you exit a corner you can estimate where the will end up relative to you. I can't imagine simracing without mirrors. I'd be clueless about cars around me.



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#20 noikeee

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 01:12

Overall I think the mirrors are used more as tactical devices: Drivers use them to block each other.

They're not a safety device. I've never seen a racing driver use his mirrors to avoid danger, only to potentially cause it. I think Jacques Villeneuve had a point when he said to remove them entirely.

I'm gonna wait for someone with real life single seater experience to comment (Ross?) but this sounds very wrong to me. Specially in situations like qualifying warm-up lap vs hotlap, but also in wheel to wheel racing combat.

I don't understand how removing information from the drivers would help anything whatsoever.

Edited by noikeee, 29 November 2022 - 01:14.


#21 OvDrone

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 06:06

Hmmm yes. I bet that the hurdles are the underwear and jewelry.

#22 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 07:14

Something that may be useful and increase visibility/awareness is to leave the mirrors as they are (increased in size a little) and have a rear view camera somewhere around where the rain light is situated, akin to a road car’s reversing camera. This could then be displayed on the steering wheel screen when needed. You could programme it to just show on the straights, or if the car behind is within DRS range…something like that. It could be a hinderance when drivers want to change settings on the screen but I’m sure they could work around that.


Edited by IrvTheSwerve, 29 November 2022 - 07:15.


#23 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 07:42

I'm gonna wait for someone with real life single seater experience to comment (Ross?) but this sounds very wrong to me. Specially in situations like qualifying warm-up lap vs hotlap, but also in wheel to wheel racing combat.

I don't understand how removing information from the drivers would help anything whatsoever.

I can see what PAYR is saying…I’d disagree that they aren’t a safety device as they should be used to increase spatial awareness and avoid drivers pulling into other drivers, driving off the racing line and out of the way of other drivers when they have a mechanical failure, etc. However, they are increasingly being used to employ tactics such as reactionary blocking. I’ve no issue with them being used as a defensive tool within the rules though, such as covering the inside line, etc.

 

Its probably half and half, really. 50% safety device, 50% tactical device. (One mirror for each?   ;) )



#24 Nemo1965

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 08:51

Interesting. I have to say that I now drive sims with a fake virtual mirror on the top of my screen, because the AI in my current race-game is quite aggressive and I don't want to be swiped out all the time. That works rather well... I can look up without turning my head up (or left or right) and still see the track out of my... would the bottom of my eyes also be called peripheral vision?

 

Anyways. Putting a screen in the current cockpit would surely interfere with the 100 settings that a current F1-driver has to dial in. But... if it would be technically possible, why not put the imaging of the rear-camera in the helmet, for example on top of the visor? 



#25 JimmyClark

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 10:00

Just to full on Top Gun and get an HUD in the helmet. I'm sure this was discussed back in the 90s.

Edited by JimmyClark, 29 November 2022 - 10:00.


#26 PayasYouRace

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 11:19

Helmets with HUD elements in the visor are becoming pretty standard in military aviation. However, the head protection requirements are very different, and the space available in an aircraft cockpit is a lot larger. It would be possible, but not quick or cheap, to adapt for racing helmet.

#27 Jazza

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 11:53

Latency could be an issue. Get any camera (webcam, phone) and wave your hand up and down. There is an obvious delay.

Such a small delay is not an issue for a zoom call or a reversing camera on a car. But even a very slight delay at race speeds could have a driver moving in front of another car that is already there, but not yet on their screen.

How small can they get the delay from the camera to the screen?

Edited by Jazza, 29 November 2022 - 11:58.


#28 SenorSjon

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 12:09

A HUD in the helmet would be usefull for proximity markers just like most race games have.



#29 YorkF1Fan

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 12:22

would it make a difference? wasn't the main issues with the mirrors more the vibrations? Good place for sponsors to put ads tho  :lol:  



#30 pdac

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 15:44

Latency could be an issue. Get any camera (webcam, phone) and wave your hand up and down. There is an obvious delay.

Such a small delay is not an issue for a zoom call or a reversing camera on a car. But even a very slight delay at race speeds could have a driver moving in front of another car that is already there, but not yet on their screen.

How small can they get the delay from the camera to the screen?

 

There does not need to be a delay. What you are noticing is a whole bunch of signal processing going on, which does not need to happen in a closed system. Of course, it could be that the FIA are thinking of a system that could also relay the images to the pits and to the FIA too (more data ... we need more data)



#31 Beri

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 17:36

There does not need to be a delay. What you are noticing is a whole bunch of signal processing going on, which does not need to happen in a closed system. Of course, it could be that the FIA are thinking of a system that could also relay the images to the pits and to the FIA too (more data ... we need more data)

 

Data gathering is the new goldrush.



#32 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 17:40

I amazed how many people think a mirror can do what a camera can do better. you can place a camera in much better position, you can have better angles, image stabilization is great already etc. 

 

For most use cases a mirror will do because simplicity wins...not because it is better. 



#33 pdac

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 20:48

The problem is that vision takes up a lot of brain functionality. With mirrors, there's one image for your brain to process. If there is just one camera, then it's the same. But if there's just one camera, then that too is not going to provide the driver with the full picture (sorry). But if you have more than one camera, then the drivers attention will be more tied up with processing what they are seeing on the screen.

 

It may be that drivers can do that. It may be that they are only planning on having one camera. But it's not as simple as putting a camera/cameras wherever on the car and expecting it to be better than mirrors.



#34 Clatter

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 21:09

The problem is that vision takes up a lot of brain functionality. With mirrors, there's one image for your brain to process. If there is just one camera, then it's the same. But if there's just one camera, then that too is not going to provide the driver with the full picture (sorry). But if you have more than one camera, then the drivers attention will be more tied up with processing what they are seeing on the screen.

 

It may be that drivers can do that. It may be that they are only planning on having one camera. But it's not as simple as putting a camera/cameras wherever on the car and expecting it to be better than mirrors.

 


Do they need more than 2 images?

#35 loki

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 21:19

There does not need to be a delay. What you are noticing is a whole bunch of signal processing going on, which does not need to happen in a closed system. Of course, it could be that the FIA are thinking of a system that could also relay the images to the pits and to the FIA too (more data ... we need more data)

Yeah we do point to point 4k with latency in the sub 20 ms range depending on the camera/display.  It costs more comparatively but in terms of F1 spending it’s miniscule.   



#36 pdac

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 21:34

Do they need more than 2 images?

 

Even 2 images is twice as much as they need to focus on right now. Also, with the current position of the mirrors, the peripheral vision has coverage of the track and the surrounding cars too. This might be diminished depending on where the screen is mounted in the car.



#37 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 23:07

Yeah we do point to point 4k with latency in the sub 20 ms range depending on the camera/display.  It costs more comparatively but in terms of F1 spending it’s miniscule.   

and 4k is an overkill for the size of display they would have. 
It's not like you wanna project that on a 70" screen



#38 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 23:08

Even 2 images is twice as much as they need to focus on right now. Also, with the current position of the mirrors, the peripheral vision has coverage of the track and the surrounding cars too. This might be diminished depending on where the screen is mounted in the car.

there's nothing stopping you for putting 2 displays, one on each side and with a much better orientation since angle can be optimized for peripheral vision, not for mirroring



#39 GlenWatkins

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 23:24

With all the things that the FIA could do to better the sport, they choose this?



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#40 loki

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 01:05

and 4k is an overkill for the size of display they would have. 
It's not like you wanna project that on a 70" screen

That was an example of low latency at high bandwidth but yeah it’d be overkill.   My backup cam looks to be 720 fisheye and it’s great.  In landscape position many of the new phones are 2k.  Regardless of the resolution it’s a great idea.



#41 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 02:34

BTW, I recall seeing virtual mirrors this year in NASCAR.  They looked a lot like the fake virtual mirror you can get in sim racing.  It seems like the technology is already there.



#42 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 03:06

I think those are pretty big, and supplemental to the existing ones? I don't even know where the mirror display would go in an F1 car, in the steering wheel which is already showing you various things? Mount it on the halo with some fuzzy dice and a scented christmas tree?


Edited by Ross Stonefeld, 30 November 2022 - 03:07.


#43 Huffer

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 08:37

I guess I don’t really understand how the screens would be better than the mirrors but if they are, then well, ok, I suppose!

 

The curved surfaces of side mirrors make depth perception a real issue, especially when you have fairly rapid closing speeds. It's difficult enough on a flat mirror surface because you loose information that helps judge depth, but you can at least find constant reference points that have a roughly linear relationship to one another in the image seen by both your eyes to help your brain estimate it. This isn't the case with curved mirrors, and the brain isn't really good at trying to deal with that sort of thing. 

Cameras could correct for distortion caused by the curve of the lenses giving better depth cues to the brain and at the same time, offer a wider field-of-view compared to mirrors. 


Edited by Huffer, 30 November 2022 - 08:42.


#44 RedRabbit

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 09:24

I think those are pretty big, and supplemental to the existing ones? I don't even know where the mirror display would go in an F1 car, in the steering wheel which is already showing you various things? Mount it on the halo with some fuzzy dice and a scented christmas tree?


F1 steering wheels have big displays these days, it could easily just link to that. The cars already use various cameras all over the car, not sure why it's supposedly difficult for them?

The rear view display doesn't need to be permanent either, I'm sure some simple GPS coding will detect approaching cars to automatically show on the display

#45 Clatter

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 11:20

F1 steering wheels have big displays these days, it could easily just link to that. The cars already use various cameras all over the car, not sure why it's supposedly difficult for them?

The rear view display doesn't need to be permanent either, I'm sure some simple GPS coding will detect approaching cars to automatically show on the display


I don't think the display on the wheel will be suitable. They swap between screens, and I think the mirror option needs to be on all the time.

#46 Clatter

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 11:22

I think those are pretty big, and supplemental to the existing ones? I don't even know where the mirror display would go in an F1 car, in the steering wheel which is already showing you various things? Mount it on the halo with some fuzzy dice and a scented christmas tree?

I think mounting screens where the existing mirrors are could work.

#47 pdac

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 11:57

I think mounting screens where the existing mirrors are could work.

 

It depends how good the screens are (of course, F1 would have the best). But I'm thinking that viewing angle and ambient light levels might cause issues. Remember that screens are emitted light devices where as mirrors are reflected light.



#48 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 12:11

How about mounting something on the halo, a bit like the virtual mirrors we see in simracing?



#49 absinthedude

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 12:18

London buses have begun using "virtual mirrors" so I guess it's considered safe for the transportation of passengers.

 

Might well need a lot of tweaks for F1 but maybe there's a place for it. 



#50 RedRabbit

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 14:03

I think mounting screens where the existing mirrors are could work.


That would be very typical of F1.