FCW Blog – Motorsport March 2017
Self-driving Cars – The Motorsports Technology Leading the Way
Throughout their history, motorsports have played a major role in pushing the boundaries of vehicles, making them faster, stronger, lighter and safer. When new technologies and innovations are introduced to the competitive racing scene, they often find their way into the mass market over time, as they become less expensive, more refined and safer in the hands of a non-professional driver.
Pioneering new technologies in motorsports first not only allows for improvements to be made to the technologies themselves, but provides an opportunity for manufacturers to spread awareness of the new products, gauge public interest, and make them more marketable.
Many of the features we take for granted in today’s every day road vehicles were first pioneered in Formula 1 before seeing mass market production. This includes anti-lock braking, traction control and semi-automatic transmission, as well as new materials such as carbon fibre, now seen in most high performance production cars. In recent years, the professional racing scene has played a major role in developing environmentally friendly driving solutions, testing hybrid engine technology, as well as pioneering electric vehicles through the lesser-known Formula-E series, Formula 1’s electric-only sibling.
As more car manufacturers are looking to develop safer self-driving technologies, it comes as no surprise that in 2015, Formula-E announced the introduction of its first autonomous motorsport, ‘Roborace’. Described as a "competitive platform for the autonomous driving solutions that are now being developed by many large industrial automotive and technology players", Roborace could lead to huge advancements in both self-driving technology and for electric cars.
Rather than building their own cars, as in traditional motorsports, Roborace teams develop autonomous driving software to run on pre-built vehicles. Roborace’s first self-driving racer - the ‘DevBot’ – was introduced in August last year, and is currently being used as a test car for the development teams to work on their software. Unlike the competition cars, the initial test model features a cockpit which allows a driver to take control if required, and enables teams to understand how the car feels and reacts in real-time on the track.
Roborace will play an important part in not only developing autonomous vehicle technology, but in improving the public perception of driverless cars. The start of this month saw the unveiling of the first competition ‘Robocar’, which features a more futuristic design than the DevBot, with no cockpit and clean, sweeping lines replacing the more angular traditional look.
Roborace’s first public race has yet to take place, with the previously planned test run at the Mobile World Congress being put on hold due to delayed parts. However, there are plans for further devbot demonstrations to take place throughout the current Formula-E season.
With a recent live music revival, musicians are having to deal with a schedule that is so tour heavy, it’s becoming hard to keep up. This is due to the most traditional and conventional method of generating revenue for a band or artist (releasing an album/single) not presenting the financial gain it once did, and the real money being made when out on tour - face to face with the fans.
Concerts and shows becoming the money makers for live artists. This is hardly surprising. The music loving market is craving an experience that goes beyond the simple download and go format that consumption has morphed into. So, there is a higher demand for bands to perform in a wider range of venues and sell an increased amount of merchandise, rather than the traditional (and much simpler!) album releases.
That’s not to say all music releases are falling flat. Vinyl sales are actually increasing, as consumers look for a physical form of media that is worth the price when compared to the convenience of digital music (plus there is always the nostalgic element to consider). So, how can performing artists make sure that their show is one that will keep their fans returning when they come to town?
One way to make sure your show stands out is by conveying the emotion of your music visually, to trigger a more illicit and visceral response from the crowd. This is a good idea because, despite your music sounding different, and having different auditory themes, a visual cue is easier to interpret by the audience, so a change in lighting or backdrop could go a long way in creating atmosphere.
This leads nicely into the importance of having an incredible lighting rig and technician. Lighting enhances the mood at any show and making the most of it is paramount to creating a memorable event. Exciting cues and triggers coupled with spectacular colours and different light units will help you achieve the ambience that you want for your performance. Whilst a top level lighting rig (and a technician who knows how to use it) may not be within everyone’s budget, just making use of what is available at a venue could be the difference between standing out amongst your fellow artists, or blending into the background.
Finally, one of the most important things to bear in mind when on tour is that your equipment is your livelihood, and if you take care of it, it will take care of you. Keeping everything you need safe for the duration of time you are on the road is vital if you want to make an impression on a large, possibly international scale. That’s why we at Flightcase Warehouse create the best quality flight cases on the market, road ready and custom made to your specifications. We can ship anywhere in the world, and no piece of kit is too much for our Pro Flightcase service, offering quality, British made bespoke craftsmanship. For more information, visit www.flightcasewarehouse.co.uk, email us here, or call 0800 612 70097.
Our Musikmesse Exhibitor Spotlight!
It’s that exciting time of year again. The music and live entertainment industries are already deep into exhibition season and show no sign of slowing the pace. Take next month, for example. Musikmesee, one of Europe’s biggest music and production visual trade shows, will take over the Messe exhibition centre in Frankfurt, Germany. This year Flightcase Warehouse are thrilled to be attending this behemoth of an event ourselves. In anticipation of jetting over to Germany, we’ve been checking out the exhibitors and would like to share some interesting info about some of the companies we’re most excited to meet.
Orange Amplification is a British manufacturer of guitar amps that first appeared on the scene back in 1968, and since then has carved out a name for itself as a premier manufacturer of quality amps and effects pedals. Their signature orange casing has set them apart in a market dominated by plain colours, and always signifies something special-whether it be the powerful sound put out from their mini terror range, or the quality of the cabinets that only compliment their sound. Orange have also began online guitar teaching course, aimed at learners of all ages.
A European musical giant, Sonar produce of quality percussion, with a wide range of different drum kits and sets available. Sonar pride themselves on their meticulous attention to detail, and how the incorporation of modern technology into their production has not affected their core values as a manufacturer. A company with a rich history, Sonar show no sign of slowing down, having recently developed and released new products for general sale, and exhibiting at the very high profile NAMM show.
Scandinavian brand Nord Keyboards has operated out of Sweden since 1983. Electronic keyboards are constantly changing, and Nord has managed to keep abreast of the ever evolving marketplace with interesting designs and cutting-edge technology. A brilliant way we’ve noticed Nord to have kept in an innovation-heavy marketplace is through its creation of different sound patches and libraries - and the ability to download them directly from the Nord website. Handy!
Presonus are key players in music production and it’s no secret why. They produce top quality mixing desks, speakers, monitors, control surfaces and more, plus the clever software needed to use them. The Presonus team pride themselves on their love of music. In fact, their products are built from the heart of the USA in Louisiana – a state famed for its electrifying musical culture and inspiring sounds.
Experts in all things speakers, Finish company Amphion are your go to guys for fantastic quality kit that’s as good for professionals as it is in the home. They have a huge amount of customer feedback attesting to the quality of their products audio, as well as a brilliant level of customer support. Customer care plus great quality is definitely a winning combination for us!
If you want to get in touch with us, meet us at Musikmesse or are interested in purchasing flight cases, click www.flightcasewarehouse.co.uk for our off the shelf cases or www.proflightcase.com for our bespoke, custom made service. For anything inbetwee, please email email@example.com and a member of our team will be more than happy to help with your enquiry.