Tiny Volvo keeps track of SEA Games equipment

FOR the first time in SEA Games history, a remote-controlled car will be used during the athletics competition to shuttle javelins, discuses and hammers between the field of play and the start line.

Introduced by the Singapore South-east Asia Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) yesterday, the Volvo XC90 remote-controlled (RC) car is a one-fifth version of the new car which will be launched in Singapore in late July.

During competition, an official will manually lock the track equipment onto the tiny car, before another athletics official navigates the car via remote control from up to 500m away.

Weighing about 15kg, the little Volvo is one of only four such customised vehicles in the world.

All four have been shipped into Singapore after a two-month production period and an estimated $15,000 invested per car.

Said Bob Gambardella, chief of Singsoc: "(The Volvo XC90 RC cars) were meant for this particular SEA Games only, though other countries may choose to adopt it in future.

"Mostly, it's meant as a fun type of thing, to keep the crowds engaged."

Apart from being entertaining, the miniature car is expected to boost efficiency.

Said Singapore Athletics' vice-president C. Kunalan: "It enhances the athletes' preparedness because they don't need to wait too long before the implements return."

Volvo has produced similar vehicles for previous athletics events, such as the 2006 European Athletic Championships in Gothenburg.

Praising the partnership between Singapore Athletics and Volvo, Kunalan says it could mark the start of more collaborations between athletics and technology. He said: "There's always space for more technology.

"Maybe Volvo can come up with a vehicle to pace athletes during interval training, or take over the coach's manual job of assisted sprinting."


This article was first published on May 5, 2015.
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