America’s Cup team, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) calls on automated warehouse technology so the team can safely return to work.
Following the reduction of the coronavirus restriction level in New Zealand from Tuesday, ETNZ expect to restart work on their second AC75 under Level 3 restriction conditions.
“It was obvious to us that monitoring social distancing would be both difficult and distracting for the team to be constantly judging their distance by eye all day long.” said ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton.
Dalton thought of Brent Russell and local company Igtimi who are in charge of developing the pinpoint accurate boat tracking software for the America’s Cup race management system.
Russell’s typically kiwi response was, “Yep, we can do this.”
Brent and the team at Igtimi were straight onto the job developing an ‘Ultra Wide Band’ positioning system of personal tags that accurately measure the distance between people.
Ultra Wide Band (UWB) positioning systems have been used for location detection of robots and transmission of sensory data in automated warehouses, but recent development of inexpensive UWB chips means that they can now be embedded into pretty much anything.
“Before coronavirus came along we would have been in the thick of preparing for the TV production and race management in Cagliari at the first ACWS event this week.” said Russell.
“Instead, we have spent our time frantically working with Emirates Team New Zealand on this separation system and plan to have it implemented by the time work resumes on Tuesday morning.”
The tags are programmed to react by flashing, beeping and vibrating when a pre-programmed perimetre is intersected.
The interactions between the two tags (or people) are then logged for contact tracing purposes.
“We have basically come up with a cost-effective technical solution to keep the Emirates Team New Zealand crew separated in their own bubbles in their work environment, and recording any contact between them for traceability and accountability.” Explained Russell.
Igtimi produce the YachtBot Web App working with high performance water sports, focused on sailing and kayaking.
In the future, the UWB hardware may well become built into Smartphones to provide a personnal coronavirus tracker.
This would be able to check two smartphone owners status against a database of Covid-19 carriers, and trigger a possible conronavirus infection warning.