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$9 Million Race Cars Loaded with Sensors

  • Fortune, Thursday, November 12, 2015 3:24 PM

The Pit Row at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, home to the only Formula 1 championship race in the U.S., is packed with fans. Some people clutch their ponchos and wince as gusts whip along the asphalt. Others snap photos of themselves with the cars and hope for a glimpse of their favorite driver. When one finally makes an appearance, a scrum surrounds him, asking for autographs and selfies. The vehicles are momentarily forgotten. But these machines, each valued at more than $9 million (a steering wheel alone is worth $77,000 or so) are more than just pricey contraptions capable of whizzing around the track at more than 200 miles per hour. They are also intelligent, thanks to the many dozens of sensors fastened to them. Each sensor communicates with the track, the crew in the pit, a broadcast crew on-site, and a second team of engineers back home in Europe.

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