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Electric Vehicles Research
Posted on December 10, 2015 by  & 

McLaren's conceptual vision for the future of motorsport technology

McLaren's Formula 1 race strategists think many laps ahead when planning a grand prix pit stop, their automotive engineers build high-performance road cars for the next generation of driver; and their technologists and designers in McLaren Applied Technologies devise ways to improve healthcare, transport and many other areas.
"With the futuristic McLaren MP4-X concept racecar, we wanted to peer into the future and imagine the art of the possible," said John Allert, Group Brand Director, McLaren Technology Group. "We have combined a number of F1's key ingredients - speed, excitement and performance, with the sport's emerging narratives - such as enclosed cockpits to enhance driver safety, and hybrid power technologies."
"Formula 1 is the ultimate gladiatorial sport, and the future we envisage will be a high tech, high performance showcase that excites fans like no other sport."
It looks visually striking, but it is beneath the skin where the changes are most apparent.
MP4-X is designed to harness alternative power sources; the chassis changes shape to adapt to different aerodynamic demands; and it can communicate in the event of a failure or a problem. The driver would be constantly measured and monitored.
Real-time biotelemetry
The driver would be constantly measured and monitored to assist with hydration levels and optimal focus concentration, also providing a unique method of measuring and understanding performance and energy levels during periods of differing stress intensity.
Advanced Fabrics
More than a simple racesuit, MP4-Xs driver overalls would include smart fabrics with a mixture of conductive, energy-harveting and energy-storage fibres, inbuilt bio sensors and power management. In the event of an accident the suit would display areas of impact trauma or injury to assist medical teams with primary assessment.
Real time driver performance
An analytical system would monitor the driver's movements, chekcing fatiuge levels and automatically adjusting settings in the car to account for that. This data could also be streamed to audiences to see how their driving styles and performace compare on a home driving simulator.
Advanced energy recovery and charging
Futuristic grand prix cars will continue to spearhead the development of future road technologies, leveraging a new generation of super-efficient fuels and lubricants from McClaren's partners ExxonMobil and focusing on the generation of electrical power recovery. The car could receive additional recharging by using inductive coupling built into the track. This could lead to more sustainable racing, but also be the catalyst for a shift change in vehicle powertrain architecture that would benefit everyday car drivers.
Energy storage built into structural materials
Rather than storing energy in concentrated areas, McClaren would create "thin batteries" fully integrated into the crash structure, storing energy from the hybrid and solar systems. Electricity would be stored and distributed within the vehicles's structure and bodywork, where it would always be close to where it is both generated and used.
The MP4-X's ground effect floor would be expansive - huge venturi tunnels beneath the floor to create a massively powerful aerodynamic effect.
Solar cells for energy capture and boost
Higher efficiency of the cars in Formula 1 helps to increase the sustainability of the sport as a whole, and the MP4-X would couple solar energy capture with the more tranditional regenerative systems that are currently employed. This is energy that can supplement existing onboard systems or that can be deployed as a boost option.
Night races aside whenever the cars are running in daylight there is a readily available source of usable energy - why not capture it to work in harmony with existing fuel-efficient technologies? If this technology was developed it could have huge benefits for not only drivers but the environment.
Real time tyre-condition monitoring
McLaren already uses wheel-mounted tyre-pressure sensors, so an additional wear sensor could be developed. Enabling Pirelli's engineers to live-monitor tyre data would be a crucial safety development, and would mean that dangerous blow-outs and delaminations could be significantly reduced, with the next stage being to interrogate images and telemetry in real-time to predict dangerous delamination before it occurs.
The wheel mounted sensors would power themselves with data and commands from the electronic control unit fed to an onboard pressure regulator unit in order to automatically adjust to achieve the optimum traction performance - all while on the go.
Cognitive HMI, gensture control & brain synaptic control
A step further down the route of using hands to control a holographic system - using brain patterns to control systems.
Expanding on technology that has been developed by McLaren Applied Technologies in partnership with GSK to improve understanding and quality of life in neurological diseases such as ALS, for example, vehicle system control would be achieved by monitoring the electrical signals within the driver's brain. These could be used in conjuction with tracking driver movementts, depending on the importance of the control.
A vehicle with no physical controls at all is a theorteical possitibility , one equipped with visual gensture control systems or holographic instrument panels could be possible.
This is McLaren Marketing's unique conceptual take on motor racing's future.
Source and top image: McLaren
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