Many modern cars have a monitoring system that keeps a close eye on the driver’s technique and sends out general recommendations to save fuel by promoting predictive driving behaviour. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) is taking this concept to a whole new level with its Smart Driving Challenge (SDC) that promotes safe driving in an eco-friendly manner using a highly advanced artificial intelligence system to determine the winner of a worldwide contest.

SDC is currently being supported by 12 FIA clubs in a bid to promote drivers to focus more on keeping a safe distance from the car in front and to also accelerate and brake efficiently depending on the surrounding traffic conditions. The challenge also makes a point about staying focused at all times and changing speed and driving style based on traffic and weather. These are just some of the tips FIA encourages people to take into consideration to make our roads safer and the use of cars more efficient.

FIA Smart Driver Challenge
FIA Smart Driver Challenge

If you take up the challenge, you can sign up for the 2020 FIA Smart Driving Challenge on this website. Those who will be accepted for the contest are going to earn access to the remainder of the 2019 edition to practice and get ready for next year’s contest.

How does it work? The cars that participate in the challenge are equipped with an onboard diagnostics reader developed by Swedish tech company Greater Than installed in the vehicle’s dedicated OBD port. It’s linked to the FIA Smart Driving Challenge app activated on the driver’s smartphone running on either iOS or Android. It bridges a connection between the car and a digital platform known as “Enerfy” able to monitor how the vehicle is operated.

It relies on artificial intelligence to keep a track of the driving patterns in real time and compares the gathered information to the 650 billion unique driving situations stored in the database. The pre-saved info has been created after an analysis of more than 50 billion kilometres of driving and is used to determine whether the participant has been using the vehicle in an efficient and safe manner. The driver’s patterns are compared to the existing data to calculate a driving score, which is then converted into points for each kilometre covered to establish both individual and team rankings.

FIA Smart Driver Challenge
FIA Smart Driver Challenge

The contest is set up in 14 week-long heats and gathers 20 teams led by professional racing drivers, such as BMW works driver Martin Tomczyk and WRC champion Sebastien Ogier. The grand final will include only 12 drivers and they’ll compete at an event due to be organised in December 2020 in Paris.

The winner will be invited to attend the annual FIA Prize Giving Ceremony organised to celebrate the most successful racing drivers of the past motorsport season.

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FIA Smart Driving Challenge uses AI to analyse driving and encourage safer and
more eco-friendly behaviour on the road

Paris, 18 November, 2019: The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has launched a global contest to encourage and reward smart driving.

The FIA Smart Driving Challenge (SDC), which is supported by FIA Member Clubs across the world, is open to all motorists and all types of cars (electric, hybrid or fuel), with the aim to reward the safest and most efficient drivers. Currently, 12 FIA Clubs have either joined the challenge or are conducting tests, with more looking to join in the future.

The aim of the FIA Smart Driving Challenge is to encourage drivers to handle their car in a safe, efficient and considered way by promoting the following smart tips:

  • Accelerate and brake efficiently in accordance with traffic and other conditions
  • Keep a safe distance from the car in front
  • Stay focused on your driving and pay attention to your surroundings
  • Adapt driving style and speed to conditions, such as traffic and bad weather

The first pilot season of the SDC started earlier this year. It is organised around 14 heats, each of them being a calendar week long, and gathers 20 teams led by famous professional drivers, such as six-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier and BMW works driver Martin Tomczyk. The challenge is run in conjunction with Swedish tech company Greater Than, which provides participants with an Onboard Diagnostics Reader (OBD) to plug into their car that will then connect to the FIA Smart Driving Challenge app activated on their phone and allow a digital platform, called Enerfy, to measure their ability to drive in a smart way.

Enerfy uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to evaluate driving patterns in real time during the competition. The AI platform compares these patterns to a database that has 650 billion unique driving situations, based on analyses of over 50 billion kilometres of driving, and can instantly identify when a participant has been driving safely, sustainably and smartly. The platform uses these comparisons to calculate a driving score to determine both the individual and team rankings of the challenge. With this method, drivers collect points with every drive over one kilometer during each of the 14 heats.

The top twelve drivers will compete at a final in Paris in December, with the winner invited to attend the exclusive FIA Prize Giving Ceremony, where the FIA celebrates its world champions.

FIA Secretary General for Automobile Mobility and Tourism Andrew McKellar said: “We believe that by encouraging and rewarding smart driving we can help road users adopt safer and more sustainable behaviour. I encourage more Clubs to join this Challenge and to see the potential benefits for their members.”

Global Race

FIA Clubs across the world are strongly supporting this new FIA initiative to reward the world’s smartest driver.

Smart driving is better for the motorist and the environment so we are fully supportive of this challenge.” Said Børre Skiaker, Secretary General, Royal Automobile Club of Norway. “This is a great initiative from the FIA and is part of its forward-thinking approach to tackling issues on our roads.” 

When joining the challenge, participants have to choose a team led by one of 20 racing stars from across the world. During the season, these team leaders give them tips and incitements to improve their smart driving skills.

Dakar Rally champion Jutta Kleinschmidt, who is one of the team leaders, said: “The FIA Smart Driving Challenge not only helps you drive more economically but is a great way to contribute towards environment preservation. It’s an exciting competition that teaches you as you drive, making you safer and smarter on the roads.”

Eye on the Prize

Although only in its first pilot season, the challenge has been joined by motorists worldwide.

French competitor Hiram Danimbe, who is currently leading the 2019 Challenge, explained how the competition has already changed his driving: “The FIA Smart Driving Challenge has really helped me to improve my driving style. I feel like I am safer on the roads now and much more efficient with how I drive. ”

Registration for the 2020 FIA Smart Driving challenge can be found here. Entrants registering for the 2020 season will gain access to the end of the 2019 season, where they can practice and refine their driving ahead of next year. Download for the app is available on both iOS and Android.