Thanksgiving Break

Looking forward to a hopefully relaxing week, spending time with my family, and working on pushing some of my projects forward. Here are some of the things I have on my list.

Road Surface Detection
I have been working on a real-time AI/ML solution for predicting coefficient of friction based on the input from an optical camera. I am using an NVIDIA Jetson Xavier AGX (thank you ADLinkTech) , I have trained a SSD_mobilenet, and but would like to see if I can get some better performance (lower latency), and improved accuracy, so I am porting it over to the Google Cloud AutoML Vision Edge, this will allow me to test a bunch of different ML models automatically without having to run it through my ML pipeline based on Kubeflow, I am excited to see the results.

CAN bus CDDS, and FogLamp
Part of the solution I have been developing uses CAN bus data to do validation, and verification. I’ve been using FogLamp to help manage the data streams, as part of this solution, I am going to continue work with Eclipse Cyclone DDS, and the ROS2 implementation, the plan is to get all of the sensor data from CAN bus to CDDS, then use FogLamp to send everything northbound.

Cyclone DDS is a standard-based
technology for ubiquitous, interoperable,
secure, platform independent, and real-
time dat...

Simulation Environments
A lot of my testing happens in simulation, I started out with IPG which I am very happy with in terms of performance, and accuracy, however, I like to keep my options open, and have been working on porting my base model to the Simulink Vehicle Dynamics Blockset, while I was at it I decide to survey the landscape a bit more, and see what other platforms are available, it looks like some of the game engines are starting to provide robust simulation environments, so I am also testing Unity3d Simulation.

Radar and ground truth

Spec MX5
Going to start working on the build sheet for my spec MX5, found a really nice donor down in San Antonio. I am going to drive her as a street car for a couple more weeks, hoping to get out to Harris Hill Raceway once or twice, to work on my heel-toe.

Keeping Focused, and Balanced

Family, work, racing, not necessarily always in that order, very hard to keep everything in balance. Over the last few weeks, I have prioritized getting ready for Road America, my race there is coming up over the Labor Day weekend, really looking forward to it. It’s been pretty tough to put it at the top of the list with all of the other responsibilities, and other activities I have going.

I had the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on this topic with Ross Bentley on his incredible speed secrets podcast this week.

Work has become increasingly demanding requiring more frequent travel, the partnership, sponsorship component of preparing for 2020 is a significant time investment, and the startup is gaining real traction with some exciting opportunities on the horizon. The near constant question I get is “when do you sleep?” Everything is a compromise.

I start by taking care of myself first, having a routine is the thing that helps me most, I guess I am a creature of habit, but breakfast, and training is how I start my day, when I am running, cycling, or swimming, I am able to organize my thoughts, and build a game plan for the day, it helps me get prepared, and regulates my mood, and anxiety level.

I have to focus on work through out the day, once I am home in the late afternoon, I make an effort to turn off technology, and spend time with my family, playing with the boys, making dinner, I love that we always sit down to have dinner together, and getting everybody ready for bed. Once the boys are in bed, I am able to have dedicated time for the startup, partnership, and work in the sim. On the weekends, time with my family is the priority, there are few opportunities during the afternoon, and evening to make progress on the startup, or work in on Road America.

Here is my method for working in iRacing, I am a big fan of data, so Virtual Racing School is a huge asset, I have a subscription that allows me to look at all of the data packs, and compare my times, with their excellent analytical tools. Additionally, I work with David Murry, and his webinars, he has a turn by turn breakdown of Road America that is incredibly detailed. I attempt to use the same approach for working in the sim, as I use when actually at the track, I take notes, look at video, and data, and then create a checklist of items to work on. This approach helps me feel prepared, and confident coming into the weekend. In addition to all of this preparation I have made it a goal for the season to work with a coach each weekend. I will be working with David on Friday, and Tom O’Gorman on Saturday.

A quick update on the partnership, and startup front, I was able to spend some time this week with Joe Speed from ADLink Technology, he has graciously offer the use of one of the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier DevKits, and Amit Goel from NVIDIA’s embedded team sent over a carrier, this is really going to accelerate the development of the models that we are running in the car.

#soufiyard

As usual things are pretty busy, was able to take a small break, and get to the track this last Friday night. Edge Addicts runs an awesome event called COTA Under the Lights that starts at 3pm, and runs until 11pm. It got dark around 9pm, and both Danny, and I were able to get a session in the dark, turn 7 is epic. We made some good memories!

My old computer died, need one to get ready for Road America. So I finally decided to upgrade, got some pretty good kit, makes for a nice workstation, and looks rad with blinkenlights too.

I have always been a big fan of AMD, went with a Threadripper 2, and a newer NVIDIA card, I usually try to buy the previous generation, or mid-level spec, and give myself room to upgrade. This machine has 32-core, and 32GB of memory with a 2070RTX. I can expand up to 128GB of memory, and add another 2070 in the future if I decide to do some more development outside of the cloud.

We continue to work on proposals for partnerships, hope to start closing the gap by the end of this month, will hopefully be able to share more soon on that front. Training has been going really well, stepped up to 4-days per week about a month ago, and have already dropped another 10Lbs.

What’s the crack

At the end of April when I got back from Road Atlanta, I put the finishing touches on my application for the Department of Transportation Small Business Innovation Research program. I focused on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Automated Driving Systems (ADS) Test Data Interface. I have not revealed too much about what I have been working on but this may give you an idea. The SBIR program provides a Phase I grant of up to $150,000 to produce research, and a report on the topic, and opens the opportunity to pursue commercialization funding under Phase II of up to $500,000. Since I am attempting to bootstrap this is very attractive

I am continuing work on the development of a Vehicle Dynamic Simulation environment, having a discussion with Doug Milliken, I was able to get tire test data directly from Pirelli, which is an excellent development. I am in talks with IPG for large-scale testing, and was able to join MatLab Startup Program. Everything is moving in the right direction.

In other news, I am getting ready for Mid-Ohio, in a couple weeks this will be the second race for the Pirelli Triple Trofeo. I am planning to work with Tom O’Gorman while there so I can pick up the track quickly. Spending lots of time in iRacing, and going to participate in the David Murry webinar this coming week. Some really exciting news is that I am currently running 3rd in GTB1 nationally, which is pretty awesome!

I am working on putting together a GT4 program with Danny Soufi for 2020 to run in the SRO GT4 America. It will be a lot of work, trying to figure out how to get a bunch of sponsors onboard to help us fund the program, and working out how to get the car, looking at the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport,

After Action Report – Road Atlanta

Overview: Another successful weekend, two podiums, qualified on the pole with the fastest laps all weekend! I was able to work with the incredible David Murry again, the work in iRacing really helped me pick up the track quickly.

Goals and objectives: My goal was to qualify in the top 5, then take what the track would give me, the weather conditions were going to play a big role in the outcomes for the weekend.

Analysis of outcomes: Road Atlanta is incredible, so much elevation change, a really fun flow track, my fastest, and favorite section was the S’s starting at turn 3. David Murry was able to help me find so much time through minor adjustments, he gave me some incredible advice, and feedback which really helped my confidence.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: I flew into Atlanta on Wednesday, then drove out to Gainesville, GA which about 20 minutes from Road Atlanta. On Thursday it was open track with lots of short sessions, between each session I would debrief with David Murry, go over video, take notes, and come up with some new goals for the next session. On Friday we had the PCA practice sessions, and fun race. Saturday morning was qualifying, I was able to secure the pole position with the fastest lap running at a 1:33.0. I fell behind in race 1 after about 5-6 laps, but we caught up to the back of the field, which allowed me to take advantage, and get back into second position, unfortunately that is when I had a tire blow out on my left rear. Race 2 I started on the pole again, fell back again, really needed to focus on Turn 7, I dropped into 4th position after a miscue during a local yellow, that quickly turned full course caution.

Sunday morning it rained like crazy, which I love! Was able to get out, and warm-up on slicks in the rain!! After some thunderstorm warnings, race control, and the scrutineers decided to move the race from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. It started to dry out over the course of the race, and I was able to get on the podium in P3.

Summary: I stuck with my process, watching video, taking notes, comparing telemetry after the day, picking small specific, and measurable goals, that supported my outcomes. I learned Road Atlanta very quickly, and was able to compete at the top of my class with very seasoned drivers. A big part of the weekend was to work with the amazing Rick Curtin, Gradient Racing Crew Chief, he has been doing this for a long time, and had tons of advice, and an excellent perspective, and attitude.

Recommendations: We need to look at a different tire size for the rear on my car, which will require some setup changes to the car, will likely do that over the summer, prior to Road America.

If you know, you know – T12

Excited for Sebring

Crazy week coming up, have a work event in Las Vegas for two days, will then make my way from there to Sebring. I am really looking forward to working with David Murry, I’ve spent a bunch of time working through his webinar. iRacing, and Virtual Racing School have been invaluable for preparation. My experience with this approach for Road America, was that it helped me get comfortable more quickly, and focus on the detail of getting to consistence lap times. Thus far I have been able to get into the 2:09’s at Sebring, need to get a couple more seconds off aiming for 2:07’s which in the real world will probably be about 10 seconds slower. I hope all the travel goes smoothly, wish me luck!