Chevy's Corvette Performance Data Recorder films and analyzes driving
By C.C. Weiss
January 7, 2014
The all-new Chevy Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard Corvette ever. To help roadway artists see what type of driving masterpiece they can sculpt from that power base, Chevy has designed a new Performance Data Recorder specifically for the Stingray. The integrated device captures HD video from the driver's point of view and keeps track of things like speed, acceleration and lap times.
The Corvette has never been about everyday commuting – it's an adult toy aimed at pushing your driving fun and prowess to the limit. Very different in purpose from Garmin's Dash Cam, Chevy's PDR is a slick, integrated system for tracking that limit, improving your skills and sharing your driving exploits with others. It's designed for both road and track use, but it seems like it will shine brightest during the latter.
Chevy worked with Cosworth in developing the Corvette PDR. The motorsports company supplies data acquisition and telemetry hardware to the Corvette Racing team, so it made a natural partner for a consumer PDR. The cleanly integrated system will be offered on the 2015 Corvette Stingray when it enters production in the third quarter of 2014.
The PDR starts with a 720p HD camera built into the windshield header trim. This camera sits above the driver and records footage of the road ahead from his point of view. A dedicated microphone in the cabin records audio.
The PDR's telemetry recorder is hard-wired into the car's Controller Area Network, where it accesses vehicle information like engine speed, gear selection, braking force and steering wheel angle. It uses a dedicated GPS receiver that Chevy says operates five times faster than the navigation system's GPS, providing more precise tracking of positioning and cornering.
The camera and telemetry recorder work together to record footage with data overlays. The driver controls recording and selects overlays through the Corvette's 8-inch touchscreen. He or she can choose from four different overlay options, ranging from pure video with no data to a "kitchen sink" overlay of speed, rpm, g-force, location-based map, lap time and more. Performance Timing mode tracks metrics like 0-60 mph time and 1/4-mile speed/time.
The system's video and data are recorded to an SD card in the glove box. Chevy estimates that an 8GB card will give the driver up to 200 minutes of footage. The driver can watch the footage on the car's display (when in park) or download it to a computer with the SD card.
Those drivers that are serious about analyzing and improving their performance will be able to use the included Cosworth Toolbox software package, which packs professional-grade analytical power into an easy-use interface. The software overlays lap data onto a Bing-powered satellite map. Drivers can select points along the map to compare laps, zeroing in on specific datum like vehicle speed and cornering force.
"The ability to review laps between track sessions can identify immediate adjustments for quicker laps in the next session," explains Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. "It’s like having a 32-GB crew chief trackside providing you with real-time feedback to improve your driving skills."
Chevy is showing the PDR at CES this week. It is holding off on a pricing announcement until closer to launch.