Driver’s Eye technology tested in Bahrain
Driver’s Eye, a pioneering helmet-integrated camera device, was successfully trialled in the FIA World Endurance Championship during free practice for the season-concluding 8 Hours of Bahrain.
Positioned at eye-level, on the protective padding on the inside of the driver’s helmet, a micro camera (10mm in diameter and weighting only 2.5 grams) gives the audience the feeling of being behind the steering wheel by transmitting live footage of what the driver sees directly to television screens.
The patented technology was developed by Bell Racing Helmets and Zeronoise, two brands of Racing Force Group. The co-operation between the iconic brand of racing helmets and the high-end custom technologies specialist made adding a whole new dimension to the show possible.
Driver’s Eye is the first-ever FIA-homologated in-helmet camera. The technology was fully showcased in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship for the first at this year’s Belgian Grand Prix and has been extensively used over the course of the last two seasons in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Helmets of Toyota Gazoo Racing drivers, Sébastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley, were fitted with the device for free practice sessions ahead of last weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain, giving a unique insight into the drivers’ work behind the wheel of the Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar.
Alex Miotto Haristos, Racing Force Group, said: “The development of Driver’s Eye required very eclectic work, starting with safety regulations, and combining electronics and helmet know-how with the aim of providing something new, normally unaccessible, the raw and intimate vision of what happens on the racetrack from the inside of the helmet. Now this technology also embraces the WEC, bringing new emotions to one of the most prestigious championship in the world.”
Richard Mille, FIA Endurance Commission President, said: “Technical innovation has always been an integral part of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the fact that some of the developments are present not only on track but also in the broadcasting field is great news for the championship. I’m full of praise for the work done by the manufacturers of the Driver’s Eye camera, who produced a very compact device, and for the FIA’s Safety Department for overseeing the necessary homologation procedure. WEC is the first FIA series where the fans have the chance to experience footage from the Driver’s Eye camera in closed cockpit cars.”
Frédéric Lequien, FIA WEC CEO, said: “We are always looking at ways to improve the viewing experience of our sport to our fans, and this latest Driver’s Eye technology helps bring a whole new perspective to what goes on inside the cockpit. I’d like to thank Bell Racing Helmets, Zeronoise and the FIA for helping to make this possible and we look forward to showcasing this exciting new technology more in the future.”
Brendon Hartley, Toyota Gazoo Racing driver, said: “It’s great how compact and light the device is. While driving you don’t really feel it, and you forget that you’re carrying a camera at all. The footage is very cool. This will let the fans experience a whole new dimension and will give them a good idea of what we experience while driving the Hypercars.”