The dominant force in the FIA World Endurance Championship over the past two seasons, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing leaves no stone unturned in its quest to be the best.
A big part of this success story, that includes three class 1 victories in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, has been the famous Japanese marque’s collaboration with Swiss-Singaporean world leaders in cyber protection Acronis.
Not only is Acronis leading the way in these key areas of safeguarding leading sports teams and businesses, there is another vital area of cutting-edge technology that is helping teams gain a critical competitive edge – that of how artificial intelligence and machine learning can support car development.
To our techies out there.
If you like to know how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) 🧠 enhance our aero work, this @Acronis case study is worth a read 📰:https://t.co/mm8Mwrw49t#ToyotaGAZOORacing #GR010HYBRID #PushingTheLimitsForBetter #CyberFit pic.twitter.com/VOMpTb3HbR
— TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WEC (@TGR_WEC) April 23, 2021
TGR tests its car models in wind tunnels and using computational fluid dynamics, both of which generate massive amounts of data. TGR-E has developed several tools to treat and extract conclusions from a very large set of results data, from either CFD or wind tunnel testing, but this was still a timeconsuming process which risked that interesting trends could be overlooked.
Enter artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), which has the capacity to look at trends within all the data collected by TGR. The key challenge is to train the AI to know what to look for.
The first challenge was to prove that the concept works and TGR put the Acronis AI/ML technology to the test with a specific task. TGR engineers tasked the AI/ML software to search for trends connected to an area of bodywork on TGR’s new GR010 Hybrid race car, with the aim of finding improvements. With 240GB of data generated in every single CFD test, and even more coming from wind tunnel analyses, TGR and Acronis saw significant potential for collaboration.
THE SOLUTION — ACRONIS AI AND MACHINE LEARNING
Starting in early 2020, TGR engaged Acronis to implement AI/ML within its aerodynamic department.
Acronis setup and trained its AI/ML software to look at TGR’s CFD and wind tunnel data and analyze it in detail. According to Rene Hilhorst, Manager of the Aerodynamics Department at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe, with the initial use case, Acronis was able to demonstrate its ability to help TGR to understand aerodynamic performance and isolate areas for improvement.
“This use case showed TGR the potential for AI as a tool for development,” comments Hilhorst.
The initial success led to Acronis further training its AI/ML software to handle the terabytes of data coming out of TGR’s CFD tests. Additional targets were given related to the aero targets by the rules and the AI/ML began looking at how changes to the car’s design would affect these targets. Now, notes Hilhorst, “The solution is being integrated into our wind tunnel and CFD processes to help TGR understand ways to improve aerodynamic performance.”
THE BENEFITS – A MUCH MORE EFFICIENT DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM
As a result of implementing AI/ML with Acronis, TGR is enhancing operation efficiencies by reducing the significant amount of engineering hours spent looking at data. According to Hilhorst, “Any time we free up engineering resources, we create an opportunity to look for other improvements, searching for performance increases elsewhere which increases our efficiency.”
As the Acronis AI continues to train on data, it is learning to rapidly identify how windflow changes in one way or another have a positive (or negative) effect on performance. As Hilhorst explains, “This will allow the TGR team to dive further into these potential areas of improvement, optimizing the car based on the AI’s analysis of the data.
“With Acronis, we are creating a much more efficient development system. Our goal is to reach the optimum design and setup as fast as possible.” Looking forward, Hilhorst comments, “We are looking forward to seeing the results of our collaboration with Acronis; we are sure this will make us more competitive on and off track.”