“If we want cycling to survive between Netflix and co., we must look for formats that make the race more popular” – these are the words of Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics, in the run-up to the Ronde Van Vlaanderen 2022. The VENTOUX project focuses on these kinds of innovative formats and will investigate several “Video ENrichment methods To Optimize the User eXperience of cycling race broadcasts”.
The increasing accuracy and speed with which we can analyze images and detect, recognize and track objects in them, allows us to do more with the existing video streams, of which often only 1 reaches the living room. Combining these streams with other information related to them (such as sensor data & map info) to create an accurate “3D” representation on which additional information (such as digital banners) can then be mapped seemed impossible a few years ago, but becomes reality today. This exactly, is what EMG and IDLab will be doing in VENTOUX.
Based on VENTOUX’s automatically generated metadata (such as events, riders, locations and POIs), the searchability of the video footage can also be optimized and the content can be exploited more widely via various channels/applications.
IDLab will coordinate the VENTOUX project and will mainly focus on the development of the necessary AI building blocks for metadata generation, the 3D mapping of video images and the enrichment of the images.
With regard to the development of AI models, the group can already rely on extensive knowledge that has been built up in recent years (e.g. for recognizing riders, geolocalizing images, and detecting events). Also in the field of immersive visual technology, augmented reality and 3D mapping, IDLab has already built up a lot of relevant expertise that is useful in VENTOUX. The group will further build on its own representation of visual data, namely Steered-mixture-of-experts which is able to represent the environment as a free viewpoint.