The Speedway Tracking System tracked 4 bikes around the oval dirt course and produced real time 3D coordinates for each rider. Riders were identified based on the colour of their helmet hood.
Following a successful indoor prototype, I created an 9 camera Speedway race tracking system in the spring and summer of 2003. At the time the hardware was quite clunky – Pentium 4s were cutting edge and due to the extreme conditions at the track (i.e. dirt, dust and rocks flying everywhere!) CCTV enclosure-protected PAL cameras was about as high end as we could go on the video ingest side.
Some of the key lessons of this prototype were:
- Outdoor environments are nothing like indoor environments in terms of difficulty
- The more challenging the conditions, the more your camera placement matters
- Design tracking systems to degrade as gracefully as possible, even if image or signal quality suffers.
These days one could recreate a system like this in the space of a shoe box for a fraction of the cost, but back in 2003 the prototype required a half-height cabinet due to the form factor of the video ingest hardware and the computers.
- Three Pentium 4 class computers
- 9 QPAL camera feeds in CCTV enclosures
- Automatic tracking of Speedway races
- Automatic identification of riders