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  1. #1
    David Arken sccadsr31's Avatar
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    Default Convention Flagtronics Convention Presentation.

    Today at 1pm PST there is a convention session on Flagtronics, it will be available after the convention as a recording but this is your opportunity to ask questions and get real time feedback. Flagtronics is not going away!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sccadsr31 View Post
    Today at 1pm PST there is a convention session on Flagtronics, it will be available after the convention as a recording but this is your opportunity to ask questions and get real time feedback. Flagtronics is not going away!
    If you plan on attending to ask questions or give feedback, plan early, you need to register and set up the whova app

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    Default FT200 display VIDEO

    This looks like a good place to put this...
    This video has a pretty decent play of quite a few of the possible display 'pictures' of what you might see during an event. I have to say that a good many are somewhat CRYPTIC. You really need to view this multiple times so that you can instantly (more or less) KNOW what it's telling you without having to replay it in your mind 20 times while DRIVING. It also shows you what the worker corner controller looks like and how it works as well as a view of the master Control Computer and screen.

    https://youtu.be/beNFpS25Cdc

    I think it is interesting and very helpful.

    Steve, FV80
    Steve, FV80
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    Contributing Member TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Davis View Post
    I think it is interesting and very helpful.
    Very helpful. Thanks Steve.

    I do have some problems, though. The difference between standing yellow and waving yellow is pretty subtle, and requires far too much attention just when my focus should be directed elsewhere. That could be a critical flaw. Why not just make the standing yellow not flash? It's not like I wouldn't see it in peripheral vision.

    The video also doesn't really show what cars in the corners away from the incident will see for a black flag all condition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    Very helpful. Thanks Steve.

    I do have some problems, though. The difference between standing yellow and waving yellow is pretty subtle, and requires far too much attention just when my focus should be directed elsewhere. That could be a critical flaw. Why not just make the standing yellow not flash? It's not like I wouldn't see it in peripheral vision.

    The video also doesn't really show what cars in the corners away from the incident will see for a black flag all condition.
    For a BFA, EVERYONE should get the exact SAME display.. BFA is like FCY.. when it happens, it's INSTANTANEOUS at all points on the track. The only difference is (as far as I know) it is still "OK TO PASS" under BFA. No prohibition of passing under that condition (unless you also encounter a YELLOW - which is reasonably likely) in the GCR. Also no 'CORNER' can call a BFA.. it has to come from Control. BUT.. if you pass 2 stations showing BLACK (and NO Car#) you can be sure it's BFA.

    If in Doubt about the YELLOW.. ASSUME FCY right away if it's not obvious. You can sort it out by the next corner station. The flashing part is to help draw your attention to it. However the alternating foreground/background *IS* a bit confusing to me.. THAT'S why this video is helpful. The more I watch it, the more quickly I can recognize it. On track, you don't see it very often.

    Personally, I'm having some issues I think are worth considering by FT..
    At present FT shows several different displays for GREEN. The CHANGE in display is what draws your eye. I might suggest (if anyone is listening) that NO DISPLAY should adequately represent GREEN...if there is no change. Pace lap shows YELLOW till GREEN so.. a change. After 10 secs of green.. go to 'BLACK' - OFF-NO DISPLAY. Black would be YELLOW background with 'B' or 'BFA'. I found the changing of green condition to be about the ONLY thing that 'caught my eye'. It alternated between NOTHING and 3 (I think) different representations of GREEN. Kinda like the flag stations.. 'nothing' = GREEN. *ANY* change helps to catch the eye... until you get used to seeing it a lot.. then it fades as well.

    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Davis; 01.25.24 at 1:27 PM. Reason: Added additional suggestion for GREEN status = NOTHING.
    Steve, FV80
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  10. #6
    Contributing Member Bernard Bradpiece's Avatar
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    Default Why Lights?

    The push to get lights on the dashboard and the expense involved is puzzling. Formula Ford Challenge Series was trying to find a solution for people missing flags. Missing flags causes penalties (which upset the drivers - the customers) adds to the danger and wastes valuable track time for the organizers if checkers are missed. Not certain why the problem was getting more acute (though in particular the black flag stations at Summit Point are in the woods, were made of dark wood and made a black flag hard to see for the aging driver population - and some of the youngsters too!

    The VRG Chief Steward suggested looking at what the circle track racers did - using tiny receivers in cockpit that fit in a pocket. After much experimentation, a more powerful $99 receiver that worked just fine was identified and an iphone holster was tie wrapped to a rollbar into which the receiver fitted just fine. The result is that race control can pass any message real time to the whole grid - not just via flags, so they have excellent control of the field. The cost is low for the drivers. Its not yet mandatory as FFCS has only just finished testing during 2023, but will likely go that way in 2025 if the drivers approve.

    A low cost solution allowing much more critical information to the drivers in real time, though clearly there has to be common sense over the number and volume of messages passed. No more missed flags - a verbal message reduces the risk of taking eyes off the road when driving v looking at the dash panel, immediate warning of an on track problem and where the problem lies.

    So how is the light system better? I know I am missing something and that Apexspeeders will respond to set me right.

    BB
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    While not universal - maybe not even majoritarian - as an operating steward, whenever I need to use a BFA in a race session I will also use a FCY. If it's early enough in the race and the leaders aren't close to S/F, I will start with the FCY, give the field a chance to react, then add the BFA. That saves time on the restart (assuming everyone stays in line in the pit lane.) Deeper in the race or with the leaders close to S/F, I'll call for both at the same time. Isn't as effective, but at least it minimizes the pit lane shuffle prior to a restart.

    For a practice or qualifying session it's not necessary.
    Peter Olivola
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Olivola View Post
    While not universal - maybe not even majoritarian - as an operating steward, whenever I need to use a BFA in a race session I will also use a FCY. If it's early enough in the race and the leaders aren't close to S/F, I will start with the FCY, give the field a chance to react, then add the BFA. That saves time on the restart (assuming everyone stays in line in the pit lane.) Deeper in the race or with the leaders close to S/F, I'll call for both at the same time. Isn't as effective, but at least it minimizes the pit lane shuffle prior to a restart.

    For a practice or qualifying session it's not necessary.
    Peter.. maybe it's time for a slight change to the GCR to PROHIBIT passing under BFA? I do know that it has increased the complexity of a restart MANY times when passes occur on the inlap from BFA with the subsequent REgrid on pit lane. It seems 'logical' that no passing would be in effect.. but it's NOT in the GCR!

    Steve
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard Bradpiece View Post

    The VRG Chief Steward suggested looking at what the circle track racers did - using tiny receivers in cockpit that fit in a pocket. After much experimentation, a more powerful $99 receiver that worked just fine was identified and an iphone holster was tie wrapped to a rollbar into which the receiver fitted just fine. The result is that race control can pass any message real time to the whole grid - not just via flags, so they have excellent control of the field.

    So how is the light system better? I know I am missing something and that Apexspeeders will respond to set me right.
    Huge differences between an oval track that is 100% visible from a tower and a track like Road America, or just about any road course with limited visibility and multiple possible scenarios/flag conditions on different parts of the track.
    For some reason there are now at least 3 different threads discussing Flagtronics with good info in each of them. It will take awhile to read everything but it's going to affect us all so it's worth taking the time.
    This one has the most info:
    https://www.apexspeed.com/forums/sho...g-light-system
    This one is a shorter read:
    https://www.apexspeed.com/forums/sho...ugust-Fastrack
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Davis View Post
    However the alternating foreground/background *IS* a bit confusing to me.. THAT'S why this video is helpful. The more I watch it, the more quickly I can recognize it. On track, you don't see it very often.
    I see standing yellows A LOT. It can be a couple of laps for the incident or hazard to be completely cleared, during which time the waved flag goes standing, and if things suddenly get worse I like to see the new waving alert. I DON'T want to be staring at a display to decide which is which.

    This can be fixed in software.
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    Agree...
    Here are some of MY thoughts..

    The standing should probably blink ON/OFF for 10 seconds, then settle to just the Y against the black background (in the corner station area). If the flag goes to waving, should return to Inverting Y's alternating SIDES of the display as shown in the video

    I also think that 'LY' should not apply - too many displays. Should be 'Y' for local and 'FCY' for .. FCY. Can't see a need for LY at all.

    Also no need for BLINKING GREEN when coming off of FCY. If we're under FCY, we can take the time to SEE the change to GREEN and FCY should never be BLINKING except for the first .. say 30 seconds.

    DB should be the same display as the corner controller shows (strips) - NOT BLINKING. Red 'DB' against the yellow background just doesn't show up well.

    Alternating 'LY' is REALLY confusing - just 'Y' - no blink unless WAVING.

    DB + Y - not sure... how about DB strips with reversed 'Y' in it? - That INVERTING BLINK just bothers me. IMHO, the inversion should be eliminated and just alternate between NOTHING and whatever screen 'picture' is chosen.

    We NEED a screen display to 'play around with' to see what LOOKS best - most definitive. HEY.. maybe FT could add a programmable section to their Setup Program to let US play with what we see for each flag? .
    Steve
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  19. #12
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    Default

    In the hour long convention segment, they show a full course with flags displayed and what the ft200 would look like at a particular corner. It makes more sense than this short video. They should have it on youtube soon.

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    At the convention was anything stated if SCCA was formally involve with the Flagtronic software preferences?

    From the above discussion it sure seems like there is a lot of fine tuning required to get the most out of the Flagtronic system in the SCCA environment. the Flagtronic really needs to be getting info from one SCCA source.

    Brian

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    That hurt my eyes as well as not being intuitive as to what the conditions are!!

    I think much work is still needed!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Davis View Post
    Peter.. maybe it's time for a slight change to the GCR to PROHIBIT passing under BFA? I do know that it has increased the complexity of a restart MANY times when passes occur on the inlap from BFA with the subsequent REgrid on pit lane. It seems 'logical' that no passing would be in effect.. but it's NOT in the GCR!

    Steve
    Steve,

    I've heard multiple arguments against a GCR change. In my opinion, none have ever overcome the process improvement that would result. Mostly it gets back to "we've always done it this way."
    Peter Olivola
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  25. #16
    Member douglap1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Olivola View Post
    Steve,

    I've heard multiple arguments against a GCR change. In my opinion, none have ever overcome the process improvement that would result. Mostly it gets back to "we've always done it this way."
    Wow, I had always "assumed" that BFA implied no passing. Glad I learned something today before being surprised on track.

    There seems to be another potential GCR conflict with the FT local yellow scheme: according to the GCR, a local yellow ends when past wherever the incident is located across the track.

    However, with the FT system, it seems that a local yellow would be displayed for an entire corner zone, even if the incident was well within the corner zone. So, do we need to change the GCR to make a local yellow cover an entire corner zone rather than having it terminate at the incident?

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    Contributing Member TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by douglap1 View Post
    There seems to be another potential GCR conflict with the FT local yellow scheme: according to the GCR, a local yellow ends when past wherever the incident is located across the track.

    However, with the FT system, it seems that a local yellow would be displayed for an entire corner zone, even if the incident was well within the corner zone. So, do we need to change the GCR to make a local yellow cover an entire corner zone rather than having it terminate at the incident?
    I've always questioned whether the drivers should be given the responsibility of knowing just when the incident has been passed - how can you be sure what else there is around that corner ahead before the next flag? I personally never go completely green until I see another station. It has cost me positions but so what. If the Flagtronics becomes the official arbiter of when the yellow ends there's no way Race Control will be able to program in the precise location of the incident in any reasonable time, so either the GCR must be changed or Flagtronics is merely a suggestion.

    And to repeat Steve's request - Stop All That Flashing! I would have a very hard time training myself to ignore that distraction.
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    https://youtu.be/9BI7zWCAwho?si=Les3CqGYiaxELhkz

    This is the presentation from the convention a couple days ago

    Full track map operation at 8 minutes

    Formula car mounting and new small flat mount and modular design discussed at 28 minutes

    Q&A starts at 41 minutes

    And an additional note from another convention session... while Flagtronics is voluntary (super tours this year) no Flagtronics data will be used to punish drivers (pass under yellow, etc) but can be used to exonerate a driver. When Flagtronics is mandatory (runoffs this year) data can be used by Stewards to determine if a penalty should be applied. They said they are doing this to promote usage before the Runoffs and elimination of excuses of not using it at super tours this year.
    Last edited by brian styczynski; 01.26.24 at 3:27 PM. Reason: Added times and additional info

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian styczynski View Post
    https://youtu.be/9BI7zWCAwho?si=Les3CqGYiaxELhkz

    This is the presentation from the convention a couple days ago
    This full video presentation with Q&A was certainly helpful to me.

    At 49:09 minutes in, during the Q&A session, Eric Prill states that the flag rules will stay the same and basically supersede the lights on the dash. So, in a local yellow, you will get a light on the dash well before a turn, but you can keep racing and passing up to the flag station as normal. Also, as I understand, you can resume racing and passing once past the local incident, even though the light on your dash may still be showing a local yellow where you are on course.

    I do feel, as some others have expressed, that the light flashing code scheme needs some further consideration and simplification to avoid confusion. Also, I don't like the fact that a full course signal is completely overridden by a local signal. So for instance, a full course yellow signal may temporarily disappear from the dash when a local white flag is encountered as shown in this video. Perhaps Flagtronics needs a higher resolution display that can show both full course and local signals at the same time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by douglap1 View Post

    I do feel, as some others have expressed, that the light flashing code scheme needs some further consideration and simplification to avoid confusion. Also, I don't like the fact that a full course signal is completely overridden by a local signal. So for instance, a full course yellow signal may temporarily disappear from the dash when a local white flag is encountered as shown in this video. Perhaps Flagtronics needs a higher resolution display that can show both full course and local signals at the same time.
    This could be an issue if you are getting your information strictly from Flagtronics. In practice, I would hope that you're looking at the track and the flag stations. I think people need to consider FT supplementary to what's actually happening in front of them. As others have said, FT is not going to replace corner workers any time soon and none of the current flagging procedures are going to change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Olivola View Post
    Mostly it gets back to "we've always done it this way."
    So you foresee difficulty optimizing the GCR to get the best function from the Flagtronic system?

    Who is handling the Flagtronic integration, CRB? Where should all the suggestions posted here be sent?

    Brian

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    very interesting. I like the fact that it seems to be flexible enough to take into account differences in the way different clubs do things.

    There is one thing that concerns me, and that's green flags. Obviously the starter is not going to be able to wave and select green at the same time. That's really the only time that the use of the system becomes truly critical, because it could lead to jumped starts, mid pack accidents, etc. Depending on who's operating the box, you could get a FT green before the real green. I suppose that will simply be handled by practice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by douglap1 View Post
    Also, I don't like the fact that a full course signal is completely overridden by a local signal. So for instance, a full course yellow signal may temporarily disappear from the dash when a local white flag is encountered as shown in this video. Perhaps Flagtronics needs a higher resolution display that can show both full course and local signals at the same time.
    Alternating colors in the blink should get the job done. I don't know how difficult that would be in their coding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Kirchner View Post
    There is one thing that concerns me, and that's green flags. Obviously the starter is not going to be able to wave and select green at the same time.
    Race Control will handle the lights. Their reaction time watching the starter may be a bit of a problem, but if you're so far back you can't see the flag does it really matter that much? They'll still be at least as fast as your radio spotter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardingfv32 View Post
    So you foresee difficulty optimizing the GCR to get the best function from the Flagtronic system?

    Who is handling the Flagtronic integration, CRB? Where should all the suggestions posted here be sent?

    Brian

    Peter is correct that change comes slowly. I can certainly see the utility in forbidding passes under BFA. A lot of steward use a FCY before the BFA, precisely in order to freeze the running order and facilitate restarts.

    Yes, the CRB is the place to petition changes in flag meaning.

    Of course, this all assumes that drivers actually see the BFA.
    John Nesbitt
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    Quote Originally Posted by douglap1 View Post
    This full video presentation with Q&A was certainly helpful to me.

    At 49:09 minutes in, during the Q&A session, Eric Prill states that the flag rules will stay the same and basically supersede the lights on the dash. So, in a local yellow, you will get a light on the dash well before a turn, but you can keep racing and passing up to the flag station as normal. Also, as I understand, you can resume racing and passing once past the local incident, even though the light on your dash may still be showing a local yellow where you are on course.

    I do feel, as some others have expressed, that the light flashing code scheme needs some further consideration and simplification to avoid confusion. Also, I don't like the fact that a full course signal is completely overridden by a local signal. So for instance, a full course yellow signal may temporarily disappear from the dash when a local white flag is encountered as shown in this video. Perhaps Flagtronics needs a higher resolution display that can show both full course and local signals at the same time.

    AMEN write the CRB and BOD

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