Generative AI Key Piece of Formula E, Google Cloud Partnership

We still don’t know just how valuable so-called generative artificial intelligence—the ability for computer models trained on mountains of human-made content to create their own text and images—will be for sports organizations, but the technology is increasingly popping up.

On Thursday, electric racing organization Formula E announced a new multiyear tech partnership with Google Cloud that includes generative AI elements for both insiders and fans.

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The tie-up builds on a relationship that dates back to last year, when Google Cloud contributed to Formula E driver Jake Hughes’ successful attempt to set the world indoor speed record by touching 135.9 miles per hour. The company built an AI chat interface that allowed team members to quickly access and analyze complex performance data. Similar interfaces have the ability to open up more analytics to fans, change the way consumers get live sports information, or even speed up the sports betting process.

“A generative AI [natural language processing] interface will revolutionize the way we consume and interpret data”, Formula E VP of technology Eric Ernst said at the time. “A general-purpose NLP interface that can take any question, examine that question with all available data from root sources and bring back the most relevant result, will give drivers access to insights in a flexible way that they did not have access to before, and provide fans with an engagement portal into the world of Formula E, regardless of their familiarity with the sport.”

For cloud computing providers, motorsports offer a chance to show off the tangible impacts of advanced online data tools. Amazon Web Services is a NASCAR and F1 sponsor for similar reasons.

Beyond generative AI, Formula E also announced plans to use Google tech to analyze the organization’s fan behavior and demographics data in order to tailor future marketing plans. There are sustainability and gender equality pieces of the partnership as well.

“Google Cloud is excited to partner with Formula E to bring the cutting edge of cloud technologies to the thrilling world of electric racing,” Laurence Lafont, Google Cloud VP for EMEA strategic industries, said in a statement. “Together, we’ll accelerate innovation on- and off-track, and build the future of sustainable motorsport.”

Thursday’s news comes ahead of Formula E’s race in Sao Paulo on Saturday. Jay Penske, founder of Sportico’s parent company, owns Formula E team DS Penske.

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