(Montreal) Formula 1, the leading category in motor sports, has always been a laboratory of technological innovations where engineers deploy treasures of ingenuity to improve the performance of single-seater cars. And often, they do not hesitate to flirt with the limits of sports regulations to try to gain an advantage over the competition.
Posted yesterday at 5:13 pm
The International Automobile Federation (FIA), the body that oversees the enforcement of the rules, has turned to a Quebec company, InnovMetric, to help ensure that all teams comply with the rules of the game during racing. F1.
The company, co-founded in 1994 in Quebec by Marc Soucy and Esther Bouliane, is taking advantage of the presentation of the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend to step out of the shadows and detail how their software solutions contribute, among others. applications, to safety and equity in motor sport.
Thanks to the PolyMorks / Inspector platform, the spearhead of InnovMetric, the FIA has taken a big step forward in verifying car compliance this season.
“Previously, the FIA carried out its checks using 2D templates to validate the aerodynamic shapes or limit gauges to assess the dimensions to be respected,” explains Jean-Sébastien Blais, engineer and expert in the deployment of the business solution at InnovMetric. Although easy to use, these methods are expensive to maintain and must be repeated each time a specification change occurs. »
“Using our software, all you need is a laptop, a small suitcase containing a laser tracker and a person who can do the inspection on their own. Provides a printable inspection report available immediately after the measurement. »
Specifically, the software allows you to measure in three dimensions predetermined points of the car. An operator places a spherical reflector at specific points that are picked up by a laser tracker. These measurements are sent in real time to the database and are compared to a digital model or twin of the car.
“It’s almost like an architect making a plan, and once the building is finished, someone pulls out their braid to take steps to see if it fits the digital plan,” he said. Blais.
This tool saves a lot of time as the FIA only has five minutes to inspect each car before or after a race.
It is no coincidence that the FIA used InnovMetric and its software platform to ensure vehicle compliance on circuits around the globe. Most F1 teams have long since adopted this universal measurement application from the Quebec company.
“All the major car manufacturers use our software in the manufacture of their production vehicles,” says Mr. Blais. And by mastering this technology, when they have a racing team like Ferrari, they can apply it in different ways. »
“The FIA realized that to be effective, they needed this kind of technology and we are happy to work with them. »
When a customer such as the FIA purchases the software, it becomes a license user for an indefinite period of time and, as with all other software, updates are available each year. Through its network of affiliates, InnovMetric application specialists are able to provide on-site technical support.
PolyWorks / Inspector platform technology also offers the ability to recheck recorded data at any time in the event of a conflict.
“For example, if we were to compete for the free height on the ground of a car six months after a Grand Prix, as we have an exact representation of the vehicle at the time of the race, it would be possible to take the measurements again and establish the conclusions. “Mr. Blais.
If the FIA so wishes, this technology could even be used to determine whether the layout of the circuits is suitable for cars.
“PolyWorks is already used in traffic accident scenes. You can do a full area scan and set the braking distance and make sure nothing has been tampered with.”
“Could we apply it for a circuit? Of course, technology is prepared for this from a software perspective. But I don’t know if the FIA would like to go in that direction. »
InnovMetric in small numbers
- More than 500 employees, of which 250 in Quebec, and 13 subsidiaries, including 5 in Europe and 3 in Asia
- 18,700 customers in 99 countries
- 98 of the top 100 manufacturers in the world use PolyWorks
- 50% of the company’s revenue is spent on technical support and research and development