SMRT, McLaren to explore use of F1 technology for train performance monitoring

(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SMRT Trains and McLaren Applied Technologies have signed a deal to adapt the latter’s race car condition-monitoring technology for the purpose of monitoring the performance of MRT trains.

Such technology is commonly used in 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,” said SMRT in a news release on Thursday (15 March). It added that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties was signed on 23 February.

Based in the UK, McLaren Applied Technologies is part of the McLaren Group, which includes the McLaren Racing Formula 1 (F1) team and the high-performance car maker, McLaren Automotive.

The plan for the deal is to adapt the condition-monitoring sensors currently used on McLaren’s F1 race cars for use aboard trains here.

“These condition-monitoring sensors and high-speed loggers installed on race cars are small and lightweight as space aboard the cars is limited and adding weight must be completely justified,” said SMRT.

“They are also of robust construction to withstand the stresses imposed during high speed races, meaning they can be readily adapted for use on trains.”

As a start, the SMRT-McLaren Applied Technologies team will work on customising condition-monitoring solutions for “train motors, brakes, pneumatic systems and gearboxes” aboard one SMRT train, which will be used as a test-bed.

When implemented fleet-wide, we expect to bring about enhanced safety, reliability and comfort for commuters on our rail network,” said SMRT president and group chief executive Desmond Kuek. 

He noted that SMRT has been “pioneering the development of rail condition-monitoring sensors” to minimise service disruption and optimise train performance by detecting and rectifying emerging defects early. 

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