Topic: Flagtronics?

I'm seeing our cousin endurance series has been testing Flagtronics. 

The TLDR: Flagtronics is a display in each car which shows the flags as they are thrown around the track.

The display packages cost $150.  As someone who literally threw away a potential overall win for my team by misreading a flag I find this tech intriguing. 

Thoughts?

Re: Flagtronics?

Max wrote:

I'm seeing our cousin endurance series has been testing Flagtronics. 

The TLDR: Flagtronics is a display in each car which shows the flags as they are thrown around the track.

The display packages cost $150.  As someone who literally threw away a potential overall win for my team by misreading a flag I find this tech intriguing. 

Thoughts?

Pretty sure it is mandatory now.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Flagtronics?

I like the idea, but I'm always going to complain about adding more money to the race year.  Is $150 for a unit pricey, no not really.  As long as I can use the unit for 3-5 years and doesn't become obsolete after a year or other series use different manufacturers it would be an OK cost.

It is a shame that the RaceAmerica system High Plains uses doesn't have an integration for in car flags (that I am aware of) to test out in car flagging. I think it is just a wireless signal though.  You would need GPS tracking for local flags in the car.

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Re: Flagtronics?

I think I'd wait a year or two while the Chump people work out the bugs before even thinking about considering it.  And there will be bugs whether tech or human related.  Remember, Chump are the people that also had that freeway sign dealio to warn of flags that sounded like a great idea but ended up getting pitched in about a year.

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Re: Flagtronics?

Yeah, we're aware of it. Here's where most racetracks are with this system: At any given racetrack, you can expect a corner worker will need to be in a flag station to monitor the corners, radio calls to race control, and wave flags. In the case of many racetracks, (A) there is frequently only one flagger in a station and (B) the workload is already significant doing just those three things.

Adding a fourth item (some kind of electronic trigger for the in-car flagging system) increases the high workload even more. When we tested one system at a race, the feedback was that the in-car system was occasionally (though not frequently) at odds with the flag being shown (or not shown) at the corner station. For several reasons, if we did use an in-car system, I think Lemons' inclination would be to have a station still showing physical flags for the sake of redundancy so a one-for-one switch of physical flags for total reliance on the in-car system is extremely unlikely. So Problem 1 is finding enough corner workers to manage the additional workload.

Additionally, before we would implement such a system and make you pay money on it (and possibly a subscription, as is the model for some systems), it would have to work at every racetrack we go to and every racetrack we potentially go to. That means flaggers who can handle it and track infrastructure that can also support it. That's Problem 2 because I can tell you that is not currently feasible.

There is a secondary (tertiary?) issue of setting expectations for novice drivers that perhaps is unfounded, but perhaps isn't. When a new person gets into a Lemons car, we want them to be looking up and aware of the situations ahead of them. Eyes scanning and picking up flag stations is good behavior that we want to impart on new people. I'm not totally sold on having a buzzer or light or however the notification comes right in the driver's eye, taking a new driver's eye down instead of looking up.

If you're a regular poster on this board, you probably could handle it in stride, but when someone is on the track for the first time, the last thing I would want if for them to suddenly be looking down or right or 18 inches from their face instead of up at what is ahead. If the in-car system is also at odds with a physical flag, then what the hell happens for a new driver? I'd say 99/100 probably treat it like a yellow, but there are enough n00bs in Lemons that one "WATCH THIS LOSER" dude could potentially make a huge issue.

I could opine onto why I think people want this to be a good idea, but I'll spare you.

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: Flagtronics?

therood wrote:

There is a secondary (tertiary?) issue of setting expectations for novice drivers that perhaps is unfounded, but perhaps isn't. When a new person gets into a Lemons car, we want them to be looking up and aware of the situations ahead of them. Eyes scanning and picking up flag stations is good behavior that we want to impart on new people. I'm not totally sold on having a buzzer or light or however the notification comes right in the driver's eye, taking a new driver's eye down instead of looking up.

We have seasoned drivers we cannot trust to disconnect their own coms (deleted that) or a coolshirt (went to a coolseat) so expecting them to monitor anything other that the coolant temp guage is not realistic.  Said drivers also almost never get flagging penalties so when they do, even I as a firm believer in "It is always your fault" at a race, wonder if it is a misunderstanding or a poorly displayed flag.  i see no in car system improving this.

Re: Flagtronics?

More money for the teams to spend, more work for the corner workers, more distractions for the novice who’s still getting used to driving on a track. What’s the upside again?

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Re: Flagtronics?

I was one of the "testers" at PITT.
A great idea, but.......execution was fair at best!
To echo some of Erics thoughts, It still has a huge amount of human error inherent to the system.
If the flaggers don't hit the button it don't work! We saw a ton of that.
Looking at the dash is not as informative as seeing what is around you on the track.

An idea that needs more refinement.....

Manny

Re: Flagtronics?

Type44 wrote:

More money for the teams to spend, more work for the corner workers, more distractions for the novice who’s still getting used to driving on a track. What’s the upside again?

This is a better summation of Lemons' position on it, currently. There are useful applications for this system, but until it is refined and has its own built-in redundancy/reliability, I don't see that Lemons is the ideal use case.

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: Flagtronics?

therood wrote:

If you're a regular poster on this board, you probably could handle it in stride...

Perhaps some, but permit me to remind you that I post here regularly.

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