How F1 Technology Is Helping McLaren Make The World A Smarter Place

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Applied Technologies arm proves McLaren isn’t just a motor racing team

McLaren may be known around the world for its motor racing output, but a separate arm of the company is helping spur on research and development for a whole range of new smart industries.

TechWeekEurope was invited down to McLaren’s Woking headquarters to hear more about how McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) is taking lessons learnt on the racetrack into the wider world.

Speedy

MAT electronics assemblyFormed in 1998 by company icon Ron Dennis, MAT is based at the company’s McLaren Technology Centre, a 57,000 sq metre facility that was opened by the Queen in 2004 and now houses around 2,500 employees, 280 of which work for MAT.

But asides from making some of the world’s most lusted-after cars, McLaren and MAT are also helping further technological innovation in some very different sectors.

This includes work in the transport, health & wellness, energy, and consumer goods sectors, helping build products from wind turbines to fitness trackers to road bikes.

“We pick specific partners for the right domain knowledge,” McLaren Applied Technologies operating director Tim Strafford told attendees including TechWeekEurope.

Bill of health

The company was particularly keen to show off its work in the health sector, where it applies its technology not just to tracking and connecting data, but also in training and predicitive analytics.

future health doctor surgeon surgeryA surgical theatre may be a long way from the adrenaline and super-powered world many people associate with McLaren, but MAT’s work is as much at home in a hospital as a racetrack.

“We’re starting to look at simulation for training surgeons and complex procedures that can be improved and aided by certain tools that we have got”, Strafford revealed.

MAT has teamed up with Oxford University’s medical school to improve surgical practices using data modelling of procedures and applying data analytics honed by the group over its years working with the McLaren Formula One team.

This includes developing tools to analyse a surgeon’s movements during an operation to make surgery more effective, and is using NHS surgeries to test out the tools, but it is hoped it will expand into private healthcare too.

Outside of the surgical theatre, MAT’s work also hopes to improve patient care by reducing the time a patient spends in hospital and optimising the allocation of medical resources – like emergency departments and clinical staff – to make emergency care more efficient.

Stafford admits that it the project is still at an early stage, but sees the technology having real-world benefits within the next few years.

“Our mission is to solve the unsolvable,” he says.

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