Livesailing For Professionals
Background & Objectives
Over the years, BeTomorrow has been intensively developing the LiveSailing ‘mass market’ edition on which everybody can follow, from a mobile phone, personal computer or TV, a real sailing race in a virtual 3D image with just 4 to 15 seconds of delay.
The images/videos are reconstructed in 3D thanks to the GPS positioning of the real boats and augmented with key racing information computed automatically by the LiveSailing software platform.
BeTomorrow had the opportunity to work in close collaboration with numerous international sailing teams and regatta organisers, who all demonstrated a strong interest in the functionalities brought about by the LiveSailing platform for the better monitoring of regattas. But the standard GPS terminals that BeTomorrow commonly used for this mass-market LiveSailing edition revealed not enough positioning accuracy and reliability to meet more severe requirements than the ones needed for race event broadcasting. The positioning accuracy was hardly good enough and it often happened that the BeTomorrow team had to add manual corrections in real time to make sure that the boats appeared to overtake the buoys on the virtual images as they actually did in reality. Moreover, the positioning information of the various boats was not precise enough from the GPS measurements to practically inform that one boat had not made a wrong start.
Starting from users’ analysis and key customer values, the various technological solutions to be considered in the LiveSailing concept will be analysed with the ultimate objective of optimising accuracy, availability and reliability of GNSS-based measurements. In this context, the LiveSailing platform will be analysed as a ‘system of systems’, including racing boats, buoys, coaches’ boats, committee boats and the multimedia interactive platform, to be made accessible online by the various profiles of users.
Onboard equipment will be developed and placed on racing boats, committee boats, coaches’ boats and on buoys, which represent a minimum of ten pieces of equipment for one international sailing team. The RTK-based GNSS-positioning system solution will be at the core of the development process, but specific work will also be dedicated to the coupling of such GNSS systems with adequate recording and telecommunication systems. Both UHF and GMTS capabilities will be integrated.
A multimedia interactive service application platform will be developed. A client/server architecture will be used which will include three major parts: the main platform (storage/retrieval, website, etc.), the web application (the main program that will be used by the coaches, sailors and umpires), and the mobile application for the coaches and umpires, which will be used on the water in real time.
The future availability of the EGNOS and European GNSS systems now paves the way for much more precise and reliable (integer) positioning capabilities, which in turn offer new perspectives for the development of a range of innovative LiveSailing for Professionals (LS4P) applications.
The mains objectives of LS4P are:
- for the race competitors: to give them the opportunity to increase their performance using the high accuracy position and velocity measurement. The sailors and coaches will be able to replay the whole race to assess practically how far they have been from the maximum theoretical performance of their boats. They will also have the opportunity to compare their trajectory with an ideal one derived by the LiveSailing system using the real measurement of wind and sea conditions throughout the race.
- For the regatta organisers: to detect faulty starts, to control the correct routes around the buoys in the race and even to automatically compute the race ranking with a high enough reliability.
Work performed & results
The expected results are:
- to characterise the European GNSS-based system architecture solution, which will allow for an accuracy of 10cm on the boat’s relative positioning while sustaining the integrity, availability and acceptable price requirements of all regatta professionals;
- to engineer and hybridise the whole range of GNSS-based onboard sensing equipment for it to be implemented on racing boats, buoys, weather boats and committee boats while meeting the specific constraints of real-time transmission and power consumption;
- to develop the entire interactive application platform with dedicated toolkits for regatta organisers on the one hand and for racing teams on the other;
- to validate the performance of the GNSS systems;
- to implement the LS4P ‘automatic ranking’ functionalities for demonstration during the Sail for Gold regatta in 2011 and possibly also in the first repetition of the London Olympic Games in collaboration with the Royal Yachting Association and the UK Olympic Team;
- to deliver a detailed cost benefit analysis to the Olympic Sailing Organisation on using the LiveSailing for Professionals system for the 2012 Olympic Games.