The British high-tech company is pursuing its connect vehicle strategy in all its units. Objective: to accelerate the development of functionalities for its cars.
Highly innovative in the field of applied automotive technologies, sports car manufacturer McLaren is pursuing its connected vehicles strategy focused on IoT sensors, Edge Computing and simulation to provide its vehicles with innovative features faster. "Not only do we use this connectivity to change our processes and the pace of development of our products, but we also use it to ensure performance of these functions by optimizing performance to get as close to real time as possible," he said. said Jonathan Neale, COO of the McLaren Group at the IoT Solutions World Congress held in Barcelona from 29 to 31 October, an event "dedicated to IoT industrial solutions in real-world applications".
The McLaren Group, which boasts 53 years of experience in Formula 1, has three business units in the fields of racing, automotive and applied technologies. The racing department is responsible for the design and development of Formula 1 vehicles, while the automotive department, which accounts for most of the company's business, produces sports cars. As for the Applied Technologies Department, the company's newest – it was launched in 2014 – it's about selling the race team's data science expertise in booming areas like IoT and machine learning to external customers in sectors such as aviation, health and industrial production.
Edge computing in sight
For MacLaren, the next step in this connectivity-oriented strategy is the edge computing edge. This time, the goal is to concentrate data processing at the periphery of the network and therefore closer to the vehicle. This proximity would provide better access to real-time data, without having to wait for centralized processing and retransmission to end-users. To describe the benefits of this increased data speed for the entire group, the COO said, "To truly achieve a great Grand Prix weekend race, we need to run the information in real time on models, on the periphery of the network, so our needs in edge computing are more and more important and we need the data of the engineers, "he explained.
Jonathan Neale is well aware that this will require revisiting the design and manufacturing of McLaren Formula 1 cars. "The future is pushing us towards" electrification "and related technologies, ie batteries, motors and software related to security," he said. "That includes domain controllers and a new architecture for the vehicle that allows for more edge processing. It also means that the models and all the heavy processing tasks have to be done as close as possible to the vehicle, if we want to be able to send large amounts of data. "
Dell, the manufacturer's technology partner, has become an essential part of McLaren's "all connected" strategy. Already, the British company has adopted the VxRack FLEX high-performance computing platform with flash storage for its most demanding workloads. It has also deployed wheel sensors and implemented a secure data distribution that leverages Isilon (high-end storage) to distribute data among multiple public cloud providers.
For a long time now, the McLaren Group has been experimenting with various simulation technologies to guide its vehicle design processes. One of the projects is vehicle-to-vehicle simulation, which allows engineers to test vehicle design in a virtual environment in multiple scenarios in order to quickly analyze the impact on suspension, steering and steering systems. pedal.
Another priority for the company is loop-driver simulation, which allows McLaren to collect pilot impressions during simulator driving exercises during the chassis development phase of its vehicles. McLaren has been working since 2000 with simulation technology. Mr. Neale said that, thanks to the progress made in the field of computers and sensors, "McLaren was able to correctly model the environment" and that "by the mid-2000s, the manufacturer had driving simulators in very effective loop.
Standardize for industrial requirements
The McLaren COO also spoke of the need to develop IoT standards at the industry level. But according to him, this responsibility lies with the technology providers and not with the automakers themselves. "Industrial infrastructure players are much better positioned than individual users to develop these standards," he said, pointing to potential conflicts between automakers "if allowed to develop their own standards" . These are all the more necessary as inter-vehicle communication continues to gain ground and the development of complex driver assistance systems (ADAS) is intensifying. "It would be preferable for the industry's big technology providers to develop these standards, which will allow us to focus on the data layer and the software, and, for McLaren, on the uniqueness of its proposal," he said. he still declared.