Pit Crews Get An Automated Safety Check

Behold the vision system that could give pit chiefs some peace of mind.

America loves its NASCAR. (Though I stopped watching after Dale Jarrett retired from driving.) It’s a sport that’s most entertaining (and safe) when cars have all four of their wheels on tightly.

With some pit stops as short as 11 seconds to fuel up and change all four tires, the talented crew folks don’t have a lot of time to double check their work. 

But there’s a new development that may give a speedy safety check before drivers make it back to the track: Artemis Vision’s wireless helmet camera. The prototype allows images from helmets to be transmitted to a receiver in the pit.

A live video feed makes sense, but it’s not the newest technology. Here’s where it gets interesting: The system can automatically find lug nuts on the tires and alert the crew if one is missing thanks to image processing algorithms.

It can also give visibility into damage on the far side of the car opposite the pit box. The technology has been tested in NASCAR races by Germain Racing. Their technical director, Chris Andrews, says, "It may also help diagnose loose wheels after pit stops by showing where a tire changer may have missed under-tightened nuts."

NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough once said, "Driving a race car is like dancing with a chainsaw." Hopefully that chainsaw will be a *little* safer with vision technology in the pit.


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