Wireless power transfer, ultra-high-bandwidth connectivity in F1 racing

October 23, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Qualcomm and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport are extending their partnership in continuing to develop and test high-speed wireless communications, as well as the wireless transfer of power for Formula One.  These tests will leverage advanced connected car solutions, such as 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 802.11ad Wi-Fi, 5G New Radio (NR), cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) and Qualcomm WiPower wireless charging, on the track.

On the side of Qualcomm, the entity involved is Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc. Expanding beyond the initial tests utilizing 5 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology in 2015, Qualcomm Technologies and Mercedes-AMG Motorsports continued to work together in 2016 to test high-speed wireless download of vehicle data using 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology in the 60 GHz band. During the field trials, race engineers utilized both technologies to gather data directly from the team's race cars while in the pit and garage. Utilizing the 60 GHz band, the team has been able to show real-world throughputs of 1.5 Gbps, which is 3.5x faster than performance results previously achieved with the prior 5 GHz solution. In addition, lab testing using both 5 GHz and 60 GHz simultaneously indicates that throughputs close to 2 Gbps can be achieved, resulting in 4 to 5x improvement in speed from previous implementation.

This work continues to showcase significant improvements from the previous wired data offload system, which required a plug-in connection from the car to computers in the pit garage. Test results also validate how quickly and efficiently data can be pulled from the vehicle, as well as to help evaluate vehicle performance under extreme race conditions. Qualcomm Technologies said it will continue to evaluate performance increases in the 60 GHz and 5 GHz off-load programs, as well as explore new technologies to make it possible for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport to send data straight to their race engineers without making a pit stop by utilizing new emerging 5G wireless and C-V2X technologies.

In addition to the wireless transfer of data, Qualcomm and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport will collaborate on testing the wireless transfer of power using a WiPower interface. Evaluating various difficult-to-access interfaces on the vehicle, the teams intend to replace physical connectors with wireless power interfaces, thus enabling rapid dismantling and reassembly of vehicle parts during complex repair resulting from on track incidents.

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