Several weeks ago NASA Rally Sport demonstrated the first broadcasts of live in-car footage from rally stages in the United States. This test was conducted on the stages of Rally Tennessee, where racing will be begin on the weekend of March 30. This builds on a history of providing live internet broadcasts at rallies, which NASA Rally Sport started doing in 2009.

“We look at new technology all the time, and mobile live video has finally gotten to the point where it’s usable, scalable and affordable,” says NASA Rally Sport Director Anders Green. “The world of data and connectivity is so different now than it was even two years ago. Racing and rally is all about speed, and if your technology is from five years ago, you’re not even on the map.”

The results of the experiment showed data connectivity via Verizon’s network on about half the stages. As the train of cars and motorcycles move through the hot zones, feeds will be picked up from whoever has good signal and content. Three new Verizon towers are in place and may be activated prior to the rally, providing even greater data coverage.

Simon Wright, a rally driver who was watching the live feed, said “It was pretty interesting, and I think it will be another cool way for folks to connect to the rally experience. It’s not high-def, but it’s live and it’s now and it’s uncensored.” The quality of the signal is naturally limited by the upload bandwidth available.

The plan for the rally is to combine video feeds from drivers and riders who are independently uploading via their own smart-phones into a single video channel. Overlays of scoring and video from the service areas can be mixed in with these feeds. Links to the live channel will be available at RallyTennessee.com.

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