FIFA will use cameras, sensors and AI to automate offside calls during World Cup

What just happened? FIFA officials are turning to technology to help boost the accuracy and efficiency of offside calls made during games. A semi-automated offside technology will be deployed for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The system utilizes a dozen dedicated tracking cameras mounted to the ceiling of the stadium to track the ball and 29 points on the body of each player 50 times per second.

A sensor in the center of the ball, meanwhile, broadcasts inertial data 500 times per second.

The data points are processed by AI in real time, allowing video operators to know the exact position of players and the ball at any given moment. An alert is automatically triggered whenever an offside position is detected, at which time the review officials will check the footage to confirm or deny the call and signal down to the on-field ref.

The system can even generate a replay animation to show in the stadium and on TV so fans can see exactly what transpired.

The tech has already been tested during several live matches and will continue to be refined leading up to the big tournament. With a successful showing, one has to think that it’s only a matter of time before other major sports leagues like the NFL or NHL consider adopting similar tech to replace standard 1080p video for critical calls.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 gets started on November 21.

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