McLaren unveils brain-controlled, solar-powered future Formula 1 car

Thursday, October 27th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : McLaren unveils brain-controlled, solar-powered future Formula 1 car

Striking electric MP4-X showcases British company’s advanced technology, including a chassis which alterations shape in addition to augmented vision for the driver


McLaren has revealed its interpretation of how Formula 1 cars might look inside the future.

The MP4-X single-seat, closed-cockpit racer is usually predominantly the work of the McLaren Applied Technologies, the arm of McLaren which is usually involved in producing advanced solutions for a variety of industries including medicine, electronics in addition to energy.

“With the futuristic McLaren MP4-X concept racecar, we wanted to peer into the future in addition to imagine the art of the possible,” said John Allert, group brand director at McLaren Technology Group.

“We have combined quite a few F1’s key ingredients – speed, excitement in addition to performance, with the sport’s emerging narratives – such as enclosed cockpits to enhance driver safety, in addition to hybrid power technologies.”

“Formula 1 is usually the ultimate gladiatorial sport, in addition to the future we envisage will be a high tech, high performance showcase which excites fans like no various other sport.”

The technology contained within MP4-X is usually all real, although many elements are still inside the early stages of development in addition to not feasible (or too expensive) for use in today’s racing.


The MP4-X doesn’t have an internal combustion engine, instead using electric power, an area the company is usually already building experience of thanks to the McLaren P1 hypercar in addition to its work in supplying power systems to Formula E.

Rather than storing energy in concentrated areas, McLaren could use ‘thin batteries’ which could be integrated into the vehicle’s crash structure. These could store energy via brake energy regeneration, solar energy capture in addition to inductive charging loops embedded inside the track surface.

Solar energy could be used to supplement existing onboard systems, or deployed as a boost option.

Electricity could be stored in addition to distributed within the vehicle’s structure in addition to bodywork, where the item could always be close to where the item is usually both generated in addition to used.

Active aerodynamics

Electrodes fitted to the surface of the vehicle’s wings could electronically control the bodywork, enabling downforce to be dialled in for cornering, then dialled out on the straights. By running a car with inherently ‘stalled’ aero, powerfully charged electrodes could be switched on into corners to turn the air around the wings into plasma.

“Plasma flow control could require quite a lot of power, nevertheless, inside the future, we could take power via the engine in addition to divert the item to charge the system,” said Geoff McGrath, chief innovation officer at McLaren Applied Technologies.

“the item’s banned inside the current F1 regs – nevertheless the item’s great for achieving high top speeds, particularly at circuits like Monza, where you want to shed all the downforce along the straights in addition to then turn the item back on again for the corners.”

The MP4-X could also be fitted with advanced, adaptive shape-memory alloys which allow an electrical current to pass through them so they change shape under specific loads or particular conditions. “A morphing wing could adapt behind various other cars,” said McGrath. “Sensor-driven control systems could adapt the wing.”

Ground effect

While the current Formula 1 regulations restrict underbody aerodynamics, the McLaren MP4-X makes full use of them. the item features huge venturi tunnels beneath the floor to create a powerful ‘ground effect’, pulling the vehicle closer to the track at high speeds. 

Removing the internal combustion engine in addition to fuel tank makes the item possible for designers to exploit the underbody even more effectively.


Areas of the vehicle which are prone to impacts could be constructed via negative-stiffness material structures. These hold the ability to attenuate energy transferred in an impact, nevertheless can also recover their original shapes in addition to properties, doing them more effective in multiple impact events than the carbonfibre used in today’s single-seater racing cars.

The MP4-X could be fitted with in-car diagnostics, doing the item able to monitor its own structural condition, instantly providing information to the engineers inside the event of a failure or accident.


Formula 1 has been debating the merits of closed cockpits for some time, in addition to the MP4-X adopts a sleek interpretation of how the item might be adopted by the sport. The MP4-X is usually fitted with cameras which feed imagery back to the driver’s helmet. Using an augmented vision display, the driver could enjoy an unrestricted 360deg view of the surroundings.

Instrumentation could be replaced by a head-up display (HUD), which could also provide the driver with alerts to warn of a closing competitor, caution flag or debris on the circuit. the vehicle could also use helmet-mounted display systems (HDMS) to see the location of various other competitors, or to present information relayed between team mates.

Vehicle systems

McLaren envisages which MP4-X could offer replacement physical controls such as steering, braking in addition to acceleration using a holographic system which’s controlled by monitoring the electrical signals within the driver’s brain. “A vehicle with no physical controls at all is usually a theoretical possibility,” said McLaren.

Tyre sensors

The existing wheel-mounted tyre-pressure sensor could be augmented by one more wear sensor. This kind of could enable Pirelli’s engineers to monitor the tyre data in addition to reduce the likelihood of a blow-out or delamination.

The sensors could power themselves, with data in addition to commands via the electronic control unit fed to an onboard pressure regulator unit in order to automatically adjust to achieve the optimum traction performance.

“MP4-X’s wheel covers have an aero benefit, nevertheless, because the wheel is usually currently fully encased, they also offer far greater visualisation of what the tyre is usually doing in addition to how the item is usually behaving,” said Tim Stafford, head of business development at McLaren Applied Technologies.

“the item provides the perfect opportunity to map the entire surface of the tyre with wear in addition to temperature sensors.”

Driver technology

The team could monitor the driver’s performance during a race using real-time biometric analysis. The data could be used to optimise hydration, as well as measuring performance in addition to energy levels during periods of differing stress intensity.

The level of fatigue being experienced by the driver could be measured, in addition to the vehicle’s set-up could be automatically adjusted to compensate.

The driver’s overalls could be made via smart fabrics – a mix of conductive, energy-harvesting in addition to energy-storage fibres; inbuilt bio-sensors in addition to power management.

inside the event of an accident, the suit could display areas of impact trauma or injury to assist medical teams using a primary assessment.

Virtual logos

In places of sponsors’ decals, the vehicle’s outside surface will be a ‘green screen’ which will project brands which are relevant to individual spectators, based on their preferences in addition to internet browsing habits. the item means the cars will look different to everyone who views the item. 

The MP4-X could also feature a visual system synced with the driver’s point of view, a development of the regular camera-car views which are used in F1 today.

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Source: McLaren unveils brain-controlled, solar-powered future Formula 1 car

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