Brain telemetry: Predicting performance of elite drivers

Cognisess is embarking on ground breaking research with future Formula One stars as part of its mission to reveal the talent and potential of young people. Working with Muse and the Young Racing Driver Academy (YRDA), and combining neuroscience with state of the art technology and big data, Cognisess hopes to uncover the predictors of elite performance.

A world first combination

Cognisess, in collaboration with the Muse designers Interaxon in Canada, has developed the world’s first racing helmet / EEG combination. This allows live streaming of the drivers’ brain waves to the pit crew, which is likely to include psychologists in the future.

Knowing the state of mind of a driver is highly important. It not only affects performance on the track (in terms of lap times and potential risks of accidents), but also how their style of driving wears out materials such as the tyres, suspension, and engine components.

Training the next Lewis Hamilton – one neuron at a time, in real-time

Cognisess is piloting this ground breaking research with the YRDA at Arden to introduce what can be described as ‘brain telemetry’. Using the Muse EEG headset technology, Cognisess has fitted custom built ultra-slim EEG technology into a full-face race helmet, to give real time information on the driver’s state of mind and level of concentration.

Arden will use this technology to complement their driver training programme. This programme has already seen the introduction of live-stream EEG technology in simulator environments and the full integration of the Cognisess platform to monitor performance.

Deep Learn™ in your helmet

Ayrton SimmonsUsing Cognisess’ proprietary Deep Learn™ machine learning system, along with the combination of car telematics, cognitive performance measures from the Cognisess platform, and the ‘brain telemetry’ now being piloted, Cognisess is pioneering a new stage of fully integrated performance measurement and enhancement for elite athletes.

The brain waves transmitted in real-time to the pit crew and race team can be used with Cognisess Deep Learn™ to spot patterns of processing that are not in line with the drivers’ best performance on the given track. They can even highlight changes in mood. This will be highly important in alerting the driver to when an event on the track may have triggered an aggressive decision making strategy. Emotional responses have been known in the past to cause drivers to misjudge risks and even result in crashes.

Predicting driver behaviour before it occurs

Many different technologies have come from Formula One racing, designed to make racing safer and drivers and cars faster. However, these technologies are mostly based around an ‘after the event’ approach, reactive to behaviour. Starting at the very source of human behaviour – the brain – our technology, based on predictive people analytics, has the potential to impact driver behaviour even before it occurs.

Cognisess’ Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, said: “This brings cutting edge technology into a environment where elite performers can make use of data feedback with a level of detail that has never been possible before. Bringing together Deep Learn™ machine learning, cognitive performance assessments, and real time monitoring in the actual performance setting will allow us to help athletes push the performance benchmarks and reduce risks drastically. I can’t wait for Psychologists being standard members of the race teams.”

Jon Pitts, High Performance coach to elite athletes, commented: “This project represents a new angle on elite sport focusing on the brain as the central driver of performance. It is only possible through the combined cutting edge technology of motor racing and the Cognisess platform, and we can now measure the brain in action and compare this to the telematics data coming from the simulators and cars. Overall it allows us to optimise the learning, skill development and performance of our YRDA and Arden young drivers.

“Today’s F1 cars are doing things almost instantaneously and the driver’s brains are under extreme pressure to process this information. In light of next season’s technical changes intended to make the cars even faster the potential to optimise brain function could be the new advantage in the sport”

For more information on our work in elite sport, contact

To read more about Muse EEG headset technology visit the Muse website, and to find out more about Arden and the Young Racing Driver Academy, visit Arden Motorsport and the YRDA site.