Credit: McLaren Applied Technologies

Credit: McLaren Applied Technologies

Formula 1 technology being adapted to monitor MRT train performance in Singapore

SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT), one of Singapore’s largest public transportation providers, and McLaren Applied Technologies, will work together on condition-monitoring solutions used in Formula 1 (F1) for tracking and predicting the performance of SMRT trains.

SMRT operates the North-South, East-West and Circle lines in the Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.

McLaren Applied Technologies is a United Kingdom-based technology company, part of the McLaren Technology Group which includes the F1 team, McLaren Racing, and the high-performance car maker, McLaren Automotive.

The Memorandum of Understanding between SMRT and McLaren Applied Technologies was signed in Singapore on 23 Feb 2018 by Mr Ng Peng Hoe, Principal Fellow, Future Systems (Rolling Stock) at SMRT, and Mr Lim Kok-Leong, Regional Director at McLaren Applied Technologies. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr Desmond Kuek, SMRT President and Group CEO, and Mr Dick Glover, Acting CEO of McLaren Applied Technologies.

Under the agreement, engineers at SMRT and McLaren Applied Technologies are jointly seeking to adapt race car condition-monitoring technology for the purpose of monitoring the performance of MRT trains.

Such technology is commonly used aboard Formula 1 race cars to provide vital information derived from highly specified data capture, in real-time, to the Formula 1 pit crews and mission control.

The McLaren race team captures an average of more than 12 billion real-time data points from over 300 sensors embedded on its two race cars, over the course of a Grand Prix season with about 21 races.

The data allows the team to monitor the condition of the cars in real-time, perform detailed analysis and make informed decisions in mission control to optimise on-track performance.

The condition-monitoring sensors and high-speed data loggers installed on race cars are small and lightweight, as space aboard the cars is limited and any addition of weight which would adversely affect the car’s performance must be completely justified. They are also of robust construction so that they can withstand the stresses imposed during high speed races.

The SMRT-McLaren Applied Technologies team will work on customising condition-monitoring solutions to monitor the train motors, brakes, pneumatic systems and gearboxes fitted aboard one SMRT train. This train will serve as a test-bed for proof-of-concept.

The test-bed train will allow engineers from SMRT and McLaren Applied Technologies to validate the performance of an end-to-end condition-monitoring platform.

Mr Desmond Kuek, SMRT President and Group CEO, said: “In Singapore, SMRT has been pioneering the development of rail condition-monitoring sensors to minimise disruption of our commuter service, optimising train performance by detecting and rectifying emerging defects early. We look forward to collaborating with McLaren Applied Technologies to elevate this capability further, combining our engineering expertise in rail with their proven capabilities harnessing sensors, telemetry and software in motorsport. McLaren’s motorsport technology will be adapted and installed on board our first Proof-of-Concept SMRT train later this year.  When implemented fleet-wide, we expect to bring about enhanced safety, reliability and comfort for commuters on our rail network.”

Dick Glover, Acting CEO, McLaren Applied Technologies , commented on the partnership, “This unique partnership with SMRT will deliver advantage for Singapore by maximising vehicle availability and maintenance capacity of their train services. At McLaren Applied Technologies we harness our expertise in precision data capture, visualisation, and real time operational interventions to create inspired outcomes for the manufacturer, the operator and ultimately for the passenger. We are excited to take this first step in Singapore with SMRT, working together to adapt our proven motorsport technologies to optimise fleet performance and provide continuous improvements to the passenger experience.” 

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