Global Opportunities

Mature markets: the case of Formula One as a technology accelerator in the UK

Formula One is one of the domains, where the most outstanding performance engineering capabilities are displayed. Even if Formula One and its supply chain offer concrete market opportunities and an arena for exceptional R&D projects, entering the sector is not an easy task. It is vertically integrated and requires absolute reactivity and reliability. Read here, how companies supplying Formula One can possibly transfer their technological capabilities to other industries (e.g. aeronautics, defence, medtech).

Two Engineers working in Engineering and Data Analysis

New markets with higher volume potential can successfully be addressed to reduce dependency on the motorsports sector. The major Formula One teams have spun off engineering branches, which take on ad-hoc projects for external clients, successfully applying F1 efficient design and fabrication methodologies. These engineering branches are eager to integrate exceptional technologies and so F1 finds itself at the forefront of technology, from cars to consumer electronics and medical technologies.

Fueling this technology transfer is the growing importance of real-time data for decision-making. In a F1 race, data is analyzed in real time to find the best strategy. Running thousands of simulations per minute the data is able to answer questions like ‘how will it affect me if I pit now?’ The combination of mathematical data and simulation can spot trends and behaviors. Mercedes for example is analyzing data to spot patterns in failure of car components. Overall the Mercedes factory produces 350 terabytes of data every year.

But how is this relevant to other markets?

Simple, because other markets use similar technologies and rely on big data for informed decision-making. Different challenges rely on automated data analysis to generate a reaction, and the tools for the solutions are very similar even if the nature of the problem is different. For example collecting and arranging big data from a car to a computer system is very similar to the challenge in a medical research institute, where large amounts of data such as gene sequences have to be collected and examined.

Roche for example applies AI and RWE in its manufacturing processes to gain timely and cost-effective maintenance insights. Novartis is developing a machine-learning predictive-analytics platform called “Nerve Live” in partnership with the US machine-learning company Quantam Black. Its sophisticated algorithms enable analysis of past and present research and clinical data to make performance predictions in clinical trial designs.

Because of multiple market potential, F1 teams are developing products in other data-driven industries, investing heavily in areas such as data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Modern machines become increasingly good at adapting to change because of their ability to do different tasks. This opens up a world of opportunity for technology transfer meaning that a machine that builds a car component one day can build a medical device the next day. Therefore it is worth as a company asking yourself the question ‘How can my technology be transferred to other sectors?’

Examples of Formula One technology transfer

1. McLaren Applied Technologies

McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) was created to work at the intersection of engineering, data and technology to create solutions in four sectors: motorsports, automotive, public transport, and health. The technology unit built from the racing team grew from three employees to an impressive 250 in the first five years.

One of the first projects that MAT worked on was for the 2012 London Olympic Games developing performance management systems to spot trends in the performance of athletes. Similarly to how the data of a race car was assembled and analyzed, the technology was applied to athletes to optimize their performance.

More recently MAT teamed up with the University of Oxford to optimize their medical services by developing data-analysis tools. The same way that sensors were used in F1 race cars to stream live data, these were used in surgery setting to assess the work of a surgeon. Similarly these sensors were used on patients pre-op and post-op to assess their readiness or recovery status. Since then MAT has collaborated with a variety of key players from different sectors applying their solutions to other markets.

2. Williams Advanced Engineering

Similarly to MAT, William Advanced Engineering, which is the engineering and technology division of the Williams Group, is applying their capabilities in other sectors. The company is currently developing technology and engineering services in areas such as defence, aerospace and healthcare.

Recently Williams Advanced Engineering have teamed up with the UK company Advanced Healthcare Technology to create the Babypod 20 designed to transport infants and built to withstand 20 G Force in a crash due to its strong carbon fiber shell, also used to protect drivers in race cars. The strap used to secure the infant is also the same strap used to secure drivers in F1.

Projects at the Swiss Business Hub UK + Ireland

The Swiss Business Hub UK + Ireland is committed to fostering multiple technological capabilities in its focus sectors. The upcoming projects are part of a 3-year program developed by the Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom aiming at exploiting the potential of technology transfer from the Formula One sector into other industries. Advanced analytics for real-time decision making was one of the domains identified as of high potential, with Life Science being a natural field of application.

1. Performance Engineering Mission – 29th and 30th of April, Hinwil, CH

Using motorsports and its key enabling technologies as a vector, the project aims at promoting Switzerland as an innovative country with outstanding capability in a few selected technology areas crucial to intelligent mobility and further. Bringing together the Swiss motorsports and performance engineering power, the project plans to foster business and R&D collaboration with leading Formula One nations.

For more information and to register click here

2. Real-world Data Mission – 24th and 25th of June, London and surroundings

Innovations based on real-world data are crucial to address new patient needs but also modernize the way healthcare is delivered and enhance the efficiency of the healthcare systems. The Swiss Business Hub UK + Ireland has designed a fact-finding mission for Swiss companies innovating at the interface of advanced analytics of real-world data and life science developing:

  • Innovative solutions that could improve operational efficiency for the National Health System (NHS)
  • Innovations impacting the delivery of care with the aim of “bringing the NHS to the patient”
  • Next frontier treatments and personalized medicine

For more information and to register click here

How can you benefit from these opportunities?

If you would like to further evaluate the opportunities related to the Performance Engineering Mission or the Real-world Data Mission, our S-GE Consultant for UK + Ireland Nadja Kolb is happy to provide further information and personalized assistance.


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