Rank Position Forecasting in Car Racing

4 Oct 2020  ·  Bo Peng, Jiayu Li, Selahattin Akkas, Fugang Wang, Takuya Araki, Ohno Yoshiyuki, Judy Qiu ·

Forecasting is challenging since uncertainty resulted from exogenous factors exists. This work investigates the rank position forecasting problem in car racing, which predicts the rank positions at the future laps for cars. Among the many factors that bring changes to the rank positions, pit stops are critical but irregular and rare. We found existing methods, including statistical models, machine learning regression models, and state-of-the-art deep forecasting model based on encoder-decoder architecture, all have limitations in the forecasting. By elaborative analysis of pit stops events, we propose a deep model, RankNet, with the cause effects decomposition that modeling the rank position sequence and pit stop events separately. It also incorporates probabilistic forecasting to model the uncertainty inside each sub-model. Through extensive experiments, RankNet demonstrates a strong performance improvement over the baselines, e.g., MAE improves more than 10% consistently, and is also more stable when adapting to unseen new data. Details of model optimization, performance profiling are presented. It is promising to provide useful forecasting tools for the car racing analysis and shine a light on solutions to similar challenging issues in general forecasting problems.

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