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Production Car Tech Trickles Up To The Racing World

 

While racing generally helps to make production cars safer by advancing technology and components, sometimes the opposite is true. At this year’s 12 Hours of Sebring, race car fabricator Pratt & Miller rolled out a radar-based collision avoidance system that essentially comes from the production car world.

As Autoblog tells us, the system uses a rear-mounted radar sensor to identify and track as many as 32 objects approaching from the rear. Those with a green marker are being left behind, those with a yellow marker are moving at a comparable speed, and those in red denote a significantly faster car.

Based on the rate of closure, the system (which runs on a custom built Linux PC) is even smart enough to guess if the overtaking car is from the same class or from a faster class. Those from a faster class are denoted by a chevron in the marker, letting the driver know that he doesn’t need to battle that car for a position.

When an opponent is overtaking, the driver is given a bold directional arrow indicating that a car is alongside. The system could go a long way towards preventing crashes in endurance racing, where cars of varying speeds run in all kinds of weather and lighting conditions.

The Pratt & Miller-built C6.R Corvettes are currently the only cars running the collision avoidance system, though the company has plans to sell the technology to other interested teams in the near future.

Teams are generally hesitant to embrace anything that adds weight without adding speed, but such a system could make even more sense when the American Le Mans Series merges with Grand-Am (to become United Sports Car Racing) in 2014. If it makes the sport safer, we’re all for it.

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