Last week, the Great American Race-the Daytona 500-ran. Danica Patrick was the first woman to take the pole position and she finished 8th. Quite an achievement for any rookie and new team, regardless of who or what they are. It also signaled the start of the 2013 NASCAR racing season. Every year, teams try to eek out every bit of power, gain some kind of aero advantage (all but impossible with the ‘Gen 6’ race car) or, at least, gain as much information about how well a car performs on track. This year, Toyota Racing Development contracted with Microsoft to develop a mobile, touch enabled application that will allow them to gather and analyze all types of data on car performance-data that can easily be updated by the driver with out the need for them to get out of the car (during testing or practice) as well as other team members.
Microsoft’s solution involves Microsoft Surface Pro tablets and a custom developed application running in the RT environment.
The Trackside app, as it is called, along with the Surface Pro tablet allows the team to capture performance data, via the touchscreen, and share it with the crew in real time. Techs can then make more efficient use of time and fine-tune the car for better on track performance.
The Surface Pro was chosen mainly for its construction: its casing is durable and the Pro provides enough processing power to handle what ever is thrown at it.
This is a pretty good use for the tablet and Windows 8. The ease of use that the RT side provides, along with the Surface Pro’s form factor, combine for a very powerful solution. It is nice to see this product being used in a real world (albeit an unusual one) situation and one in which most of the users are not computer people, but car people-racers.
Go here to read more about this and watch a short video about the application.