McLaren Applied Technologies

As legal requirements grow and customer tastes become ever more exacting, it has never been more complex or costly to bring a road car from initial design to the showroom. Also, building and testing prototypes is expensive. Weather conditions can be inconsistent during field testing, design maturity of components may be variable, and the same drivers may not be available from one test to another… the variables mount up.

Imagine, now, performing many of those testing functions in a simulator. We recognised many years ago that computer-based models were not always an accurate predictor of on-track performance because a crucial element was missing: the driver.

McLaren is utilizing 15 years of continuous development experience in Formula 1 and a newly formed partnership to create and deliver a next generation of driving simulator.  The Vehicle Dynamics Simulator (or VDS) is a tightly integrated driver-in-the-loop system for use in the engineering development of road cars. By delivering a proven system of high frequency cueing via steering feedback, vestibular motion cueing, and sustained load mechanisms, the driver is able to distinguish tiny differences in ride and handling, enabling accurate feedback to the vehicle engineering team. The engineers are then able to change the car set-up and conduct another test immediately. After years of development, the system is now available for purchase by automotive OEM and Tier 1 suppliers.   We also have a VDS at McLaren’s Technology Centre, near London’s Heathrow airport, for both future development and demonstration/training purposes.

This is a unique proposition: Although originally designed for Formula 1, a similar system has recently been adapted and adopted by McLaren Automotive for the development of its road cars.  This ‘internal customer’ is continually pushing the development of the VDS technology for use in road cars and being used daily to develop chassis, powertrain and electronic systems on current and future models.  Additionally, McLaren Applied Technologies has a dedicated team of modelling and simulation engineers to assist our clients achieve their goals.  

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