The BFA Committee are pleased to announce that we will be officially trialling Automatic Pass Evaluation System (APES) at this year’s Indoor Championship at Three Counties Showground 31 Aug-1 Sep.
This is a major step-change in the professionalisation of BFA flyball and the first time APES will be used competitively in Europe; a clear demonstration of why the BFA remains a global leader in flyball innovation.
APES is an enhancement to the Electronic Judging System (EJS) which allows for still images of each dog pass to be automatically transferred real-time to a digital device for accurate assessment of early/late passes and confirmation that each dog carried its ball over the finish line.
The system has been in trial for over 6 months now and the Committee, in consultation with the Judges Board and Aces who own the trial set , are happy with both the reliability of the technology and the reliability of the information it provides.
The trial has shown that the current form of EJS is accurate in the assessment of early passes. The only failures have been when a spat ball crossing the line has given a false early for the incoming dog; the result is the same so the race outcome has not been affected albeit the wrong dog may have been re-run. This would also explain why the line judge sometimes does not put the fault light on when the EJS has indicated an early, but the line judge can clearly see the incoming dog was not early; what the trial shows, is that this is often due to the sensors being triggered by a spat ball from the outgoing dog. The big lesson from the trial is the significant amount of spat balls that cannot be picked up by the human eye. The dog carrying the ball all the way over the line is a fundamental part of the basic rules of flyball; jumps, box, ball, and this is why the APES, and the capability to know that each dog has successfully completed a flyball run in accordance with the rules, will be a major leap forward in the professionalism of BFA flyball.
This announcement is advance notice that the system will be used at the Championships. Clubs need to be aware that previously undetectable spits before the line will now be picked up. If you are aware that you have a dog that cuts it fine at times, you may wish to take advantage of the next couple of months to work on that in training. This will also give clubs the opportunity to check their own dogs even if they think they don’t have a problem by filming their line and ensuring their dogs are actually consistently complying with the rules so you don’t unwittingly get caught out by APES at the Champs.
We think you’ll agree that this is an incredibly positive step forward for the BFA as carrying the ball over the line is a fundamental part of flyball and use of this system can only increase fairness and competitiveness of racing.
Briefings and training for judges on the use of APES will be conducted nearer to or at the Championships.
We will be building on the success of this amazing new system with more complete sets on order so it can be trialled outdoors as well with a view to rolling it out at the BFA Outdoor Champs in 2020.