US-owned company Qualcomm to supply new technology for Formula E
Futuristic wireless battery-charging technology, developed by the U.S.-owned Qualcomm multinational, is to be used for the new-for-2014 FIA Formula E Championship for bespoke all-electric single-seaters, which was officially launched this week at the Frankfurt motor show in Germany.
Smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm has signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Formula E and will provide the series with both wireless charging and augmented-reality technology. The series promoter has unveiled a Qualcomm-branded Formula E race car in Frankfurt.
Qualcomm's “Halo” wireless vehicle charging system, which is under development in the company's R&D laboratory in London, England, creates an electromagnetic field using a copper pad buried under the road surface. This can be picked up by a coil built into a vehicle, which converts it into electricity to power-up a battery.
Drayson Racing Technologies, the British electric race car pioneer, has already tested a customized version of “Halo” as a means of recharging its cars when they are stationary.
In the first year, the technology will only be used to recharge the Formula E Safety Car, but it will be extended to the race cars in 2015 or 2016 provided the new series is successful. Several Qualcomm pads will be built into the city center streets that will be used for Formula E races to provide "dynamic charging."
In addition, Qualcomm will design the telemetry system that will be used by the Formula E race control center to monitor all the race cars individually, scrutinizing a range of temperatures and pressures as well as specific parameters such as speeds, engine performance, fuel usage, braking efficiency and tire condition. These data streams will be sent in real-time to race control, where the teams will be able to access it and use it with their own proprietary software. In addition, all the data will be accessible in real-time by the public through Qualcomm's planned roll-out of its “Vuforia” software.
The first Formula E event is scheduled for September 2014 in London, with downtown street races to follow in nine other major cities, including Los Angeles and Miami in the United States. Ten teams, each with two drivers, will be competing. Autoweek