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MotoGP breaking new ground in OnBoard camera technology

MotoGP breaking new ground in OnBoard camera technology

A new Gyroscopic OnBoard Camera is being used in the Live MotoGP International Broadcast this weekend for the first time at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland!

Being able to witness Valentino Rossi´s movements from the tail of his bike has been a trademark of the MotoGP International Broadcast in recent years, with the iconic image of "The Doctor" lettering on the back of his leathers and his usual greeting to his own personal camera marking the beginning of many sessions since the introduction of a special OnBoard camera aimed at the back of the rider.

OnBoard cameras got close and personal with Rossi back in 2003 when the Italian was riding for Honda: the new OnBoard camera was launched at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez, giving, for the first time, a view of the back of the rider, thanks to a miniaturised camera placed on the tail end of his bike. This innovative view became a fixed feature in the MotoGP broadcast, alongside the Front and Rear OnBoard cameras.

The unique and spectacular perspective given by this OnBoard camera is a fixed angle following the movements of the bike on the asphalt. This weekend, a major step will be given with the introduction of the Gyroscopic OnBoard camera, in order to go beyond the limits of a fixed angle and give a perspective much closer to what the rider actually sees, with a fixed horizon line and the bike moving around a reference point, the rider.

The new Gyroscopic OnBoard Camera was developed by Dorna Sports SL, marking the start of a new generation of OnBoard cameras, including miniaturised motors. For years, Dorna Sports' Technical and R&D department have been looking for a compact electronic module aimed at tracking the exact position of the bike on a race course and determining its lean angle in real time.

It was not until November 2009 and the Valencian Grand Prix that the ideal solution was found, as UAV Navigation offered their services. The Spanish company, specialised in Flight Control Systems, made the most of the experience they acquired in the Red Bull Air Race in order to bring a package adapted to the constraints of MotoGP, with two accelerometers, a triaxial gyroscope, a GPS and a micro-chip providing real-time data on the location of the bike and also the exact coordinates of the three gyro sensors, thus giving a better indication of the bike behaviour on track.

This data stream is processed in real-time to control a miniaturised motor placed in the Gyroscopic OnBoard camera, which rotates its lens according to the movements of bike - the movements of the lens actually compensating the movements of the bike in order to maintain a fixed horizon line, as the riders see it - so that the resulting footage is not a shot moving with the bike, instead the bike is moving around a reference point, giving a better perception of the riders' dexterity in throwing their +210 hp prototypes through hair-raising-fast corners and audacious moves.

After an extensive testing process, the Gyroscopic OnBoard Camera is being used in the Live MotoGP International Broadcast this weekend for the first time at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, improving the sport's experience offered to fans around the World with never-seen-before footage. This new feature will be developed and fine-tuned by Dorna Sports throughout the season in order to give a better perception of the lean angle concept, which is one of the most spectacular elements of MotoGP racing - giving a first-hand view of how the riders always push forward the limits of their bikes and endure ever higher g-forces in the pursuit of better lap times.

You can enjoy a sample of how the action looks from the Gyroscopic OnBoard Camera in the attached free video!


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