ICT has a key role to play in ensuring the Formula One cars are as safe – and as green – as possible.
Max Mosley, the head of Formula One's governing body, the FIA, has called for accelerated standards development to support ICTs in vehicles for improvements in safety, and the mitigation and monitoring of climate change.
Speaking at ITU's annual Fully Networked Car event at the Geneva Motor Show, Mosley said that the leading edge expertise within F1 to develop "green" technologies could have applications beyond the sport, particularly in the area of fuel efficiency and monitoring of environmental impact.
Most F1 teams have as many as 300 channels of information flowing between the cars and the pit crew and as the complexity of systems grow their interconnection will become critical he said.
Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, reminded participants that the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has called climate change the "moral challenge of our generation".
"With the Fully Networked Car we can provide traffic management, monitoring, and analysis, all of which will help meet the climate change challenge. Those who successfully meet this challenge will end up with a real competitive advantage in world markets."
Michel Mayer, CEO Freescale Semiconductor, a leading supplier of ICTs to F1 and one of the sponsors of the event, expressed concerns at the proliferation of proprietary standards and called for global standards bodies such as ITU to take a lead. He said that it is critical that further development be standards-driven.
The event also featured a keynote presentation from David Butler, marketing director of Honda Racing F1 Team, who emphasised how the powerful brand platform of F1 can present a global environmental message. The Fully Networked Car event had as its centrepiece the new 2008 Honda Racing F1 "Earthdreams" car.
A particular concern, according to experts, is in the areas of telematics and the application of intelligent transport systems (ITS) which participants at the Fully Networked Car agreed offer the best solution for a reduced carbon footprint from the global use of vehicles.
ITU will help to push this standards work and convergence between the ICT and automotive industries with initiatives such as its FITCAR (From/In/To Cars Communication) Focus Group, and the hosting of the Advisory Panel for Standards Cooperation on Telecommunications related to Motor Vehicles (ASPC TELEMOV).
Also helping to step up this activity, Malcolm Johnson, ITU's director of standards, announced that the Fully Networked Car event – already in its fourth year – will now become a regular fixture bringing together the two industries.
ITU will also be organizing two ITU symposia on ICTs and Climate Change: in Kyoto, 15-16 April, hosted by the government of Japan; and in London, 17-18 June, hosted by BT.
Priorities identified for future standardization included: a common set of standards for the full range of nomadic devices; standards for software defined radios; standards to cope with the gap between the short lifecycle of mobile phones compared to the relatively long lifecycle of cars; and privacy, where there is a need for a common understanding about what data is reasonable to collect and retain.