McLaren Applied Technologies

How my work experience at McLaren helped develop my winning STEM awards idea

Jack Noble, 2017 STEM Awards winner (Innovation category)

After winning The Telegraph UK STEM Awards in the Innovation category, which is sponsored by McLaren, I was invited by McLaren Applied Technologies to spend a week at the world-renowned McLaren Technology Centre (MTC). This is the rapidly growing technology and innovation company within the McLaren Group.

My first three days were spent with the Public Transport team within Applied Technologies, who helped me to refine my idea from the STEM Awards. I came up with an idea called Drive Subscribe - a subscription model to bring autonomous vehicles to as many people possible to make roads safer. Customers would use Drive Subscribe to choose a vehicle to suit their needs that would drive them to their destination. Artificial intelligence would also ensure each person had a digital profile that transfers across any vehicle, which would adapt things such as temperature and seat position to their needs.

The transport team urged me to think of new ways in which we could connect people through the subscription model, and how we will interact with autonomous vehicles over the next decade. This led to the development of new ways in which we could offer in-vehicle services, personalise vehicles better, and create a viable service which caters to the different needs of many. The finer details including payment structure, data management, and implementation of the model were set out. The combination of autonomy and a sharable vehicle platform will change how we experience travel. My proposed subscription service, in which a user could select a car based on their needs, aims to provide a true alternative to vehicle ownership. 

The model also encourages rapid widespread adoption. This means the transition to a driverless future can be accessible for everyone in a shorter period of time, as opposed to traditional car ownership. This is key when considering the safety benefits autonomous vehicles will bring in the near future. 

I also discussed the concept with Abi Wetton, last year’s winner in the Innovation category, and now an account executive at Applied Technologies. She explained the great opportunities the awards presented her with and we discussed how I could take my idea further, particularly in the research space. 

During the week, I was also introduced to people at McLaren Automotive and McLaren Racing. Walking across the factory floor of the McLaren Production Centre was an incredible experience, and highlighted the enormous complexity in manufacturing supercars. The great attention to detail throughout the production line really stood out to me. 

My time in Racing was spent with three teams: Chassis, Aerodynamics, and Strategy. With these teams, I gained hands-on experience with many components from the F1 car and we discussed the decisions made when designing and manufacturing the car. The number of iterations and innovations to the car were staggering, with alterations being made between each race in a fast-paced engineering environment. 

My work experience concluded with a tour of the MTC with my family. The tour was fantastic, detailing McLaren’s rich heritage and the progression they’ve made in racing, as well as the company’s relatively recent entry into the automotive, health and public transport industries. 

I hope to return permanently one day.

To enter the 2018 Telegraph STEM Awards challenge sponsored by McLaren, click here.

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