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High-precision sports timing technology at 2020 UCI Road World Championships

​Tissot turned to CEA-Leti, a CEA Tech institute, for a precision timekeeping solution for the 2020 UCI Road World Championships. The goal was to boost the range and reliability of real-time radio transmission of cyclists' times. 

Published on 27 August 2020

​During a cycling race, the cyclists' position and performance data are recorded by embedded trackers that send information by radio to gateways in real time. However, obstacles like mountains or buildings and other disturbances in the environment can hinder radio transmission. Swatch subsidiary Swiss Timing, which develops timing solutions for watchmaker Tissot, turned to CEA-Leti to come up with a solution.

CEA-Leti researchers started by analyzing the existing timing system. They then optimized the network management layers and designed a special antenna to improve transmission performance. The improvements extended the transmission range to up to two kilometers regardless of the geographical or electromagnetic environment. The antenna and communication protocol were tested in CEA-Leti's anechoic chamber on a tracker mounted under the bicycle seat with an actual rider and, later, in the field.

The system was implemented on trackers that will be used in the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in September, but could very well live on after the race.  Swatch, which is also providing timing and scoring solutions for the Olympic Games, is planning to use the solution in other sports. Stay tuned for more!

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