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Complete Controller Software for Sim (Racing) Rigs

With todays release 2.8.6, another cycle in the development of the Simulator Controller Suite is slowly coming to an end. With Assetto Corsa Competizione, rFactor 2, RaceRoom Racing Experience and now also iRacing, 4 simulations are fully supported, including integration for Jona, the virtual race engineer. In detail, release 2.8.6 brings the following new functions:

1. Complete integration of iRacing via a specialized plug-in
2. Control of the Pitstop Black Boxes in iRacing with the Button Box via the integrated "Pitstop" mode
3. Full support for iRacing via Jona, the virtual race engineer
4. New actions "Accept" and "Reject" in order to be able to control Jona largely from the button box even without voice commands.

The next cycle is again dedicated to artificial intelligence. If everything goes as planned, in the end we will see the driver fully supported by a virtual racing strategist. Just as Jona supports you as a race engineer with technical questions and automatically determines the settings for an upcoming pitstop, this virtual racing strategist will calculate the ideal time for a pitstop based on the positions and likely strategies of all other drivers. Completion of the automated setup database is also on the plan for the coming cycle.
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With version 3.0 - as announced - the next development cycle begins, the further expansion of support for the driver. For some time now, the virtual race engineer has been collecting data from the various sessions and, of course only with consent, transfers it to a central server for consolidation. Release 3.0 now brings a first tool with which this setup information (tire selection and air pressure) can be queried depending on the vehicle, route and weather conditions. An extrapolation method helps to determine setup instructions for conditions that have not yet been "experienced".

Race Engineer Setups 1.JPG

Another note at this point: You always have access to your own data, you only get access to the (tire) setup information of the community if you also contribute to the development of the database. Therefore it may be time to reconsider your own consent.
This week's release brings many changes "under the hood" to prepare for further steps in the development of the setup database and the virtual race engineer. The most important visible change concerns the virtual race engineer, who now also asks the setup database when the tire pressures are calculated for an upcoming pit stop. This is particularly advantageous in the case of drastic changes in the environmental conditions, because then the dynamic calculations based on the data from previous laps reach their limits. When querying the setup database, extra and interpolation methods are used and a factor is used to consider how resilient the derived tire pressures are if no exact data is available. The query of the setup database can of course be configured.
This week's release brings more features to the setup database. In addition to information on the correct cold air pressures and the tire compound depending on the track and weather conditions, which have been collected for a long time already, the setup for mechanical and aerodynamic settings can now be uploaded to the setup database. If consent is given, this information will also be shared with the community. Consents can now be given separately for air pressure and setup information. For this reason, consent will be requested again with this release. In addition to the information mentioned, private notes can also be stored in the setup database, which are never shared with the community.

Race Engineer Setups 2.JPG
This week, too, there are further improvements to the setup database and the associated integration with the virtual race engineer. The settings for a current session can now be automatically saved in the setup database and automatically loaded from there at the beginning of a new session. Another page has been added to the general configuration tool, with which the dynamic decisions and statistical processes of the virtual race engineer can be influenced or configured.

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Release 3.1 took two weeks to mature. But a lot has happened, even if much of it is not yet fully visible. All changes serve to integrate a new virtual assistant into the platform. In addition to Jona, the virtual race engineer, the driver is now also supported by Cato, a future expert in racing strategy. Cato can currently hardly do anything, but when fully expanded he will have a complete overview of all drivers, their lap times and the development of the positions, even with different pit strategies. Cato will furthermore be able to develop appropriate pit stop strategies if you are stuck in traffic and he will be able to react to unforeseen events such as sudden weather changes and severe damage - all hand in hand with Jona, the race engineer. All of this will come step by step over the next few weeks / months.

Since two different assistants are now available as conversation partners in Voice Chat, the speech recognition has been fundamentally revised. It now allows several simultaneous dialogues and can switch between the conversation partners with an activation phrase. In addition, many internal changes were made to make further development more flexible and the rule system for the AI kernel was modularized. As always, details can be found in the release notes.
This week brings the first usable functionality of the virtual race strategist. The knowledge base now includes a model for the positions and current lap times of all drivers on the track as well as a complete history of all past laps. On this basis, the functions of Cato are now being developed. At the moment, on the basis of this information, Cato can provide information about your own current position in the race and provides information about the distance to the cars in front and behind, as well as their lap times compared to your pace. Corresponding information is also available for the leading vehicle on request. These functions are sure to please those of you who drive with VR glasses.

With this release, data connections have been integrated for iRacing, rFactor 2 and RaceRoom Racing Experience. The data provider for Assetto Corsa Competizione has also finshed implemented, but has not yet passed the final tests. This integration will therefore follow with the upcoming release.

Beginning with this release the sources are no longer part of the release package in order to save some space. But the sources are still openly available on GitHub.

By the way, I am currently building a Discord server for the Simulator Controller community. Feel free to join: https://discord.gg/5N8JrNr48H