AI-based Virtual Race Engineer incl. Pitstop Handling

Discussion in 'Third Party Content' started by TheBigO, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. TheBigO

    TheBigO Registered

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    Now I've managed to put together a release in time, before it goes into the holidays. Today's package includes some many new features for the "Race Center". All algorithms of the strategy simulation are now integrated so that during a race in the event of an unforeseen situation (e.g. weather change, accident), the previously developed strategy can be dynamically adapted and passed on to the virtual assistants for further processing, regardless of who is driving the car. The currently implemented version of the strategy simulation uses a multivariance analysis, a second method based on the Monte Carlo approach has unfortunately not been completed yet. This will come in one of the next releases in the new year and will make it possible to develop a strategy based on the data of all your opponents (lap times, constancy, etc.) that will allow the greatest possible number of free air laps in your stints. Beside that, there are also some visual improvements in various tables and a few improvements in speech recognition.

    At this point I would like to thank you for your interest in my software, for your support and also for your patience, because the overall package is still quite a challenge, especially when it comes to installation and configuration.But with the now almost 450 users who downloaded and installed the last version, we have already built a strong community together. And we are getting more every day.

    With this in mind, I wish you quiet and relaxing days and a happy new year.
     
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  2. TheBigO

    TheBigO Registered

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    Another unexpected release for 2021 but I promise this will really be the last. This time there is a new planning function for the "Race Center", with which teams can determine in advance who is likely to drive which stint and when. This stint plan can be derived semi-automatically from the strategy and is automatically synchronized with the stints actually driven. In addition, there are a number of improvements for the Team Server, which is leaving beta status with this release, and the Strategy Workbench now also allows the planning of a strategy for a car / track combination for which no telemetry data is yet available.

    Race Center 13.JPG

    Outlook: In the "Race Center" the Monte Carlo analysis for strategy optimization is still to be completed and then it finally goes to the spotter.

    And with that I wish you a happy new year. See you again in 2022.
     
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  3. TheBigO

    TheBigO Registered

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    First of all, a happy new year to everyone!

    This week's release is more or less a maintenance release. A whole series of measures in the Team Server and especially in the "Race Center" improve the stability and behavior, especially when laps or stints are missing, e.g. due to disconnections. Beside that, keyboard keys and other triggers are now supported in "Simulator Setup". With this you can e.g. define a "virtual" button box, which is ultimately represented by the keyboard. Another important new option comes to the aid of everyone who previously had difficulties opening the pitstop dialog under control of Simulator Controller and changing the settings there. Together with several users, I have discovered that not every Windows installation is the same (what a surprise). Therefore, several communication strategies has been implemented and are now available for Simulator Controller and the individual simulations. Usually one of them is the right one for the respective system.
     
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  4. TheBigO

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    The work on today's release took a little longer, but it was worth it. The new method for "traffic analysis" during dynamic strategy development gives you a tool that is currently only found in the hands of professional racing teams, and usually for a lot of money. This analysis method uses a stochastic prediction model based on the so-called Monte Carlo method to predict the development of the race and thus allow the race strategy to be optimally adapted to this situation. This method is particularly valuable in endurance races, but of course it can also be used successfully in sprint races, as one or the other F1 race in 2021 has shown.

    Race Center 14.JPG

    And there are again many small improvements:

    1. A complex tyre wear model was integrated into the strategy simulation.
    2. The racing rules for pitstops have been expanded.
    3. The frequency with which Jona complains about damage to the vehicle has been adjusted.
    4. Many improvements for post-race reports.

    And another good news: Work on the Spotter has also already started. However, it will take another 2-3 sprints before a first usable version is available.
     
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  5. TheBigO

    TheBigO Registered

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    The first version of the next race assistant is here. As requested by the community on Discord, the newest member of the assistant family is a Spotter. With today's release, the initial version of the spotter only supports ACC and "only" provides information about nearby vehicles, but all other simulations and a large number of other information about flags, obstacles on the track, but also tactical recommendations, i.e. on where it is best to overtake, will follow quickly with the next releases.

    Further improvements:

    1. The memory requirements of the assistants have been drastically reduced again by removing knowledge from the memory that is no longer required, i.e. for race laps that are far in the past. This is especially useful in endurance races.
    2. Another configuration parameter for the assistant plugins allows you to determine the manner of speaking and intonation (voice, pitch, speech rate) individually for each assistant. A high speech rate is very important for the spotter, for example.

    And here is the link to our Discord again: https://discord.gg/5N8JrNr48H
     
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  6. TheBigO

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    That was the most intense sprint in a long time. But it was worth it. Here are the new features and improvements:

    1. The spotter has learned about yellow flags, blue flags and pitstop windows.
    2. A Spotter engine was implemented for Automobilista 2, iRacing, RaceRoom Racing Experience and rFactor 2. However, the rFactor 2 integration didn't make it through the tests yet, so you'll have to wait another week here.
    3. The "Race Reports" app can now correctly handle when a driver leaves a race early. In addition, the positions at the start of the race are now recorded correctly and not just the standings at the end of the first lap.
    4. A request from the community: It is now possible to ask the assistants about the current time, apparently helpful if you are driving with VR glasses and have an important video conference in a few minutes.
    5. In the strategy development there were some improvements in dealing with the fuel reserve and a pitstop as late as possible.
    6. And last but not least, controlling the ACC pitstop dialog now work even if you haven't created the small search images yet (those who have already gone through configuration hell know what I'm talking about). However, there are a few limitations in this case, which are described in the documentation (see https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Si...tant-preparation-for-the-pitstop-mfd-handling). Obviously, this is the functionality that has recently been offered by one or the other product manufacturer for more or less money.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2022
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  7. TheBigO

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    After the implementation of the Spotter will be largely completed with the release next Friday, the voting for the main feature of the next development cycle is currently running on our Discord server (https://discord.gg/5N8JrNr48H) in the #discussion channel. You can choose from:

    1. Consolidation and distribution of the setup database.
    2. Support for other simulations, especially "Assetto Corsa".
    3. Implementation of an AI-based wizard to develop or modify setups based on a conducted interview.
     
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  8. TheBigO

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    Today's release once again brings more features for the Spotter, but most of the planned features are now there.

    1. Spotter engine for rFactor 2 has been integrated.
    2. The Spotter now gives hints about your performance during the race start phase and now and then also during the race. In addition, the last rounds will be announced at the end of the session.
    3. The Spotter's hints regarding vehicles to the left and right of the current vehicle are now correct in RaceRoom Racing Experience.
    4. The sporadically reported blue flag during the start phase in iRacing has also been fixed.
    5. All spotter notifications can now be switched on and off individually according to your personal taste and needs.

    Configuration Tab 11.JPG

    There is also extended support for different tyre compounds (green, yellow, hard, medium, soft, etc.) in the simulations that support this. The data analysis in the "Strategy Workbench" has also been expanded to include the new tyre compounds and also includes a sophisticated algorithm to include fuel level related corrections in the laptime calculations. And last but not least, a critical bug in the new ACC pitstop control procedure that was taking a disproportionately long time to enter data has been fixed.

    With this release, the basic implementation of the Spotter is now complete. Extended tactical hints will follow, which are developed by the AI based on the data of the last laps. However, this function will still need a while and will be delivered later, so to speak. Time to move on to the next main feature. The AI-based Setup Advisor was chosen on Discord for the next development cycle. This tool will ask you in an interview-like approach about characteristics of your car (e.g. What is the tendency to understeer at the apex of a corner (0 - 10)? or How much does the car tend to swerve when accelerating at the exit of the corner (0 - 1)?). and then make suggestions for sensible changes to the setup.
     
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  9. Comante

    Comante Registered

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    Looking forward to these developments with much interest. You are making a wonderful work.
     
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  10. TheBigO

    TheBigO Registered

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    This week only brings minor improvements, although a lot has happened under the hood. A critical bug in the Stream Deck integration where certain icon types were causing the integration plugin to crash has been fixed. If you are using the Stream Deck integration, please update the Stream Deck plugin from Simulator Controller in the Stream Deck plugin directory.

    A first executable version of the "Setup Advisor" can be found in the Binaries directory, but by far not all functions have been implemented yet and most of the rules for the AI are still missing. The first full version will be available at the end of next week.
     
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  11. TheBigO

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    Today the first version of "Setup Advisor" comes bundled with some other improvements. The "Setup Advisor", a kind of expert system for driving physics, provides recommendations for sensible changes to the settings based on an interview approach in which the driver describes the problems with the current setup. If there are conflicting requirements, these are weighed against each other so that a suitable setup can be quickly developed even for difficult conditions.

    Setup Advisor.JPG

    As always, there are also minor improvements in all other areas of the suite:

    1. When developing a strategy, the effect of different tire compounds on the strategy and performance can be simulated - depending on the simulation. Furthermore, the number of available tyre sets may be determined per compound, which can limit the number of possible tyre changes in the pitstops.
    2. The frequency of (blue) flag warnings by the spotter has been drastically reduced.
    3. On rare occasions, the various assistants could chatter in a cacophony. This has been fixed. Now a maximum of two assistants can speak at the same time.

    And once again I would like to draw your attention to our Discord Server (https://discord.gg/5N8JrNr48H) and if you want to support the further development, that is of course welcome as well. You can find information about this here: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller#donation
     
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  12. Rock

    Rock Registered

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    Fantastic evolution!
    Can we vocally induce to the Spoter such or such choice of the gum. The result is not having to do 20 manipulations by the wheel in order not to end up in the wall?
     
  13. TheBigO

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    This is already on the backlog. Will be available soon.
     
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  14. TheBigO

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    Today's release is packed with new features for strategy development. Many areas in the "Strategy Workbench" have been revised and performance-optimized. In detail, there are the following improvements:

    1. Support for the "Intermediate" tyre compound in all Simulator Controller applications.
    2. Most settings in "Strategy Workbench" can now be initialized from the currently loaded strategy.
    3. The strategy simulation now allows the stint length to be varied in the optimization phase depending on the projected tyre wear and negative laptime effects.
    4. New pitstop rules can specify whether refueling and/or tyre changes are allowed.
    5. The biggest change is the introduction of a rule language to decide whether a strategy created by the simulation satisfies the rules of the respective session. Examples, e.g. for the current Formula 1 race rules, show the application of this rule language, which is based on *Prolog* (https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Si...i/Virtual-Race-Strategist#scenario-validation).
    6. Performance improvement up to a factor of 10 in the simulation runs.

    Other improvements concern the "Race Center" and the "Setup Advisor", which now supports simulation- and car-specific rules.
     
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  15. TheBigO

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    Most recently, the revision of the database for tyre pressure data and for car- and track-specific setups was voted on as the next feature on our Discord server. Work has started and today's release brings the first results of this project. The database itself, as well as the associated tool with which the data can be queried and modified, have been revised. A completely new model for handling the car-, track- and weather-specific setting default values for the racing assistants was implemented, which now combines great flexibility with easy handling at the same time.

    Session Database 1.jpg

    In the next release, a first consolidated version will come to all those who are contributing to this database with their own data.
     
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  16. TheBigO

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    Unfortunately, a rather insidious bug crept in. This affects the automatic update procedure and was probably already present in the previous release. Due to this error, the software no longer offers automatic updates. I just fixed the bug and re-uploaded the 3.9.8 version to the version repository.

    You can now do the following:

    Important: Please make a backup copy of your [Documents]Simulator Controller folder before proceeding.

    Alternative 1: If you originally installed the software "automatically" and also selected automatic updates, you can simply start the "Simulator Download" program from the Binaries folder in the original installation directory. This should then load and install the current version and the error is fixed.

    Alternative 2: If you have not installed the software with the installer in the first place or if errors occur using Alternative 1, please proceed as follows:

    1. Download the current version manually using the following link: https://cntr.click/Qw8Nwb1
    2. Unzip the file somewhere on your hard drive.
    3. Open the current Simulator Controller installation directory on your computer. With a "normal" installation, this is probably in the Programs directory.
    4. Copy the Binaries folder from step 2 into this installation directory. It may be necessary to unblock the binary files, for instructions see: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Si...onfiguration#unblocking-of-applications--dlls

    Sorry for the circumstances...
     
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  17. TheBigO

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    Today there is a change in the major version number, we arrived at version 4.0.0. And with the release of the Coomunity database for tyre pressure data and setups for cars and tracks, this is more than justified. This database is built up from voluntary contributions by every user of Simulator Controller and is in return made available to everyone who contributes to this database.

    Another major improvement concerns speech generation and speech recognition. A third engine is now available for speech generation, which allows access to Microsoft's "new" local text-to-speech synthesis methods, which are based on the 5.1 specification. This makes additional voices available on Windows 10 and 11 for almost every language. And another speech recognition library from Microsoft has also been integrated, which significantly improves the recognition rate and quality if you can ensure very good audio quality (e.g. via a headset). Additional support for Azure voice recognition is planned for one of the next releases.

    And as always, there are many other improvements, including the integration of the new vehicles from the ACC Challenger DLC. Please take a look at the release notes and especially the documentation on the new voice functionality.

    Release Notes: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller/wiki/Release-Notes
    Update Notes: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller/wiki/Update-Notes#release-400

    Discord Server: https://discord.gg/5N8JrNr48H

    Support the project: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=7GV86ZPS95SL6
     
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  18. TheBigO

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    This release bring you the integration of Azure Cognitive Services speech recognition - no April joke. The recognition algorithm is no longer pattern-based here, but delivers the spoken text exactly. The advantage of this is that the recognition does not have to adhere to a strict grammar. This allows me to use the Sørensen-Dice coefficient (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sørensen–Dice_coefficient) to intelligently determine the best matching voice command.

    What does that mean? Currently you have to formulate the command exactly according to the defined grammar. For example you have to say:

    "Can you simulate the race in 10 laps?"

    when Cato should predict the possible development of future positions according to your own pace and consistency and those of your opponents.

    The grammar for this command looks like this:

    [Simulate the {race, standings} in (Number) laps, Can you simulate the {race, standings} in (Number) laps, What will be my position in (Number) laps, What is my position in (Number) laps]

    The grammar for the above command therefore has fixed variants that must be adhered to in the case of pattern-based recognition.

    With the continuous text recognition and a lot of calculations according to Sørensen-Dice the following commands are now also accepted:

    "Simulate the race in 10 laps." or "Calculate my position in 10 laps."

    This type of voice interaction is very flexible and comparable to typical modern voice assistants such as Alexa or Cortana. However, this only works with the new cloud-based speech recognition. A positive side effect: the recognition quality is excellent, even for country-specific dialects such as Schwyzerdütsch. And since Azure provides 5 hours of audio transcription time per month for free, the service is free to use in most cases.

    Another big improvement concerns the initial installation and configuration. There are now ready-made presets in "Simulator Setup" for common and some less common configuration variants.

    And, last but not least, the Spotter begins warning you not before the race has been started. This is supported for all simulators.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Release Notes: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller/wiki/Release-Notes
    Update Notes: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller/wiki/Update-Notes#release-402
    Discord Server: https://discord.gg/5N8JrNr48H
    Support the project: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=7GV86ZPS95SL6
     
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  19. TheBigO

    TheBigO Registered

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    This week brings a so-called quality release - above all, a lot of bug fixes and many small improvements. It was just about time to sweep through and dust off. You can find the details in the release notes.

    Functional extensions:

    1. The Race Spotter can now provide a range of information on the current race situation (lap times, position, distances to the cars in front and behind, etc.). These were already available from the Race Strategist, so it's more of a complement to the possibilities.

    2. More presets in "Simulator Setup". A big thanks to everyone who has contributed here.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Release Notes: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller/wiki/Release-Notes
    Update Notes: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller/wiki/Update-Notes#release-402
    Discord Server: https://discord.gg/5N8JrNr48H
    Support the project: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=7GV86ZPS95SL6
     
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  20. TheBigO

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    Todays release is the last one in a series of fix and tweak releases, which improve quality, stabilty and performance in all areas of Simulator Controller. From next week onwards, you will again see major functionality additions like improvements for the "Setup Advisor".

    But also today we have a special gift for all users of Stream Deck. Thanks to Martin Moser, a member of our community, you get a very stylish icon set with over 150 icons, which cover almost every configurable action of Simulator Controller. The icon set is also available as a preset in "Simulator Setup", so that you don't have to create the action bindings on your own.

    Stream Deck Icons.JPG

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Release Notes: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller/wiki/Release-Notes
    Update Notes: https://github.com/SeriousOldMan/Simulator-Controller/wiki/Update-Notes#release-406
    Discord Server: https://discord.gg/5N8JrNr48H
    Support the project: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=7GV86ZPS95SL6
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2022
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