May 30, 2024


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Abu Dhabi's racetrack has been revamped using 3D controls and digital technology

Abu Dhabi's racetrack has been revamped using 3D controls and digital technology

The newly built long curve will fit seamlessly into the path of the track. There was not the slightest discrepancy left.

Photo: Topcon

Overtaking opportunities must be improved and the track must have a completely flat surface.

To achieve this, four sharp curves were replaced by one long curve. In addition, the entire underside of curves 16 to 20 has been revamped. Drivers can now drive through this section at higher speeds. The planning team paid special attention to removing the hairpin and widening Turn 7, with the new track sections creating better overtaking opportunities.

French construction company Colas was awarded the contract for the renovation work. They brought Topcon and Dromo, the Italian racetrack design specialist, to the team. The go-ahead for the ambitious project was given in the middle of the Formula 1 season. The work was completed after just eleven days of construction, thanks to the efficiency of control and 3D technology provided by Topcon, the company emphasizes.

During the project, Colas used a wide range of Topcon technologies, including the MAGNET software suite, SmoothRide Workflow, Pocket3D, total stations and the HiPer VR global satellite navigation system. They first recorded the road course, track gradient and elevation profile as they set off using a 3D laser scanner mounted on the car. The road construction machines used, a milling machine and two asphalt pavers, are equipped with a HiPer VR GNSS receiver.

Digitizing Topcon 3D control

The millimeter works with the highest precision: the road surface is perfectly milled and an even surface layer is built.

Photo: Topcon

Using the survey data, Dromo created a 3D twin of the track and, based on it, the new track model. The data collected allowed the current condition of the track to be quickly assessed and any existing problems identified before milling and paving commenced. Data transfer, communication between different project teams on the construction site and visualization of calculated models were carried out seamlessly via the cloud.

Machine operators on milling machines are able to use real-time data during conversion work, compare it to plans and make immediate adjustments if necessary. The use of GPS technology and 3D machine guidance increased the efficiency of the milling process and resulted in precise quality across the entire path that was not possible with manual methods. “Topcon offers cutting-edge technology that provides us with a high level of accurate data that allows us to perfectly execute our plans and create a route worthy of a champion,” says Jarno Zavelli, CEO of Dromo, enthusiastically.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was held as planned at the end of the Formula 1 season. Max Verstappen captured the World Championship title in this race. He overtook rival Lewis Hamilton on the final lap – on a revamped section of the track.