Every mile of the famous Nordschleife (northern loop) will benefit.
The Nurburgring in Germany has announced via its website that it will be undertaking a comprehensive digitalization overhaul of the Nordschleife, the famous northern loop frequented by everyone from OEM test drivers to amateur racers and tourists.
While sections of the asphalt are annually refreshed in sections, it takes just one onboard lap video to show that the potential issues on such an enormous track are not limited to what the surface is like. You can go for miles without seeing another driver, and it's impossible to have a marshal on every curve.
Thus, the 'Ring needs some upgrades to ensure that if the worst happens, emergency personnel and those responsible for clearing the track can respond as quickly as possible.
All 21 kilometers (just over 13 miles) of the Nordschleife will be digitalized as part of a project that will cost the Nurburgring operating company €11 million ($11.95 million). Over the next two years, a "completely new infrastructure will be built" around the track, with foundations laid and storm-proof masts carrying "special HD cameras" erected.
While this work is underway, earthworks will be carried out along the track to lay channels for fiber optic and power cables. The Nurburgring will also be adding off-grid systems for power supply, and LED panels for digital warning signs will go up.
How does all this improve safety?
In collaboration with Fujitsu, the Nurburgring has been evaluating various systems in the section between the Galgenkopf and the Grand Prix track (known as the Dottinger Hohe). This data has been used in an artificial intelligence system that is designed to "detect hazards, accidents, and other unscheduled events on the track." When the system detects an on-track issue, the usual radio messages between marshals will continue, but the aforementioned LED panels will also help to warn those on the track of exactly what lies ahead and how severe the incident is.
The Nurburgring expects the new system to be in operation in 2025 but notes that "the artificial intelligence will be continuously refined in live operation and adapted to the peculiarities of the Nordschleife."
Hopefully, this will mean that record attempts in machines such as the AMG ONE, amateur track days, endurance races in the rain, and relaxed Sunday drives will all be made much safer.