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Rallies Committee considers vehicle tracking

The MSA Rallies Committee is researching live vehicle tracking systems and suppliers for potential introduction on UK stage rallies.

Live tracking systems enable the locations and movements of cars, as well as, critically, any incidents, to be alerted to the event HQ and the relevant emergency services in real time.

The systems used on stage rallies in other countries utilise the mobile phone networks that have been developed to cover the majority of the landmass. However it is more difficult in Britain, where mobile phone coverage is instead based on population centres; stage rallies are generally run in more remote rural areas where there can be little signal.

Rallies Committee has drawn up an initial schedule of minimum requirements, including – but not limited to – the need for real-time coverage of as many as 150 vehicles on up to four special stages at any one time. The Committee now wishes to discuss possible solutions with any potential suppliers.

Andrew Kellitt, MSA Rallies Committee chairman, said: “This is an important project as there isn’t currently a suitable automated tracking system for stage rallies available in the UK, so domestically we rely on a labour-intensive manual system of radio relays. The FIA World Rally Championship (and therefore Wales Rally GB) runs a very expensive bespoke system that relies on a plane circling overhead to relay the signals, and there’s a satellite-based system in Australia but we believe that’s very expensive too.

“The question we’re asking – not just of the motor sport community but also the communications industry – is, ‘How can we reliably transmit data from the cars to Rally HQ in real time at an affordable cost?’ It’s certainly our intention to find a suitable solution that can be implemented on stage rallies in Britain.”

Interested parties should contact Ian Davis, MSA Regional, Rallies & Cross Country Executive, via ian.davis@msauk.org by 20 December 2013.

8 November 2013