SMRT partners McLaren, plans to use F1 tech improve trains

2 min read

SMRT announced in a press release earlier today (Mar 15) that it will be partnering with McLaren Applied Technologies to work on condition-monitoring solutions that are able to track and predict the performance of MRT trains.

You might have heard of the name McLaren from the F1 Team.

mclaren f1 car

McLaren’s F1 race car racing in a Grand Prix. Source


The F1 team – McLaren Racing, alongside McLaren Applied Technologies, are part of the McLaren Group, a UK-based technology company.

SMRT has indicated that McLaren’s experience with F1 technology and races would come in handy in improving our public transport reliability.

“Over a Grand Prix season with about 21 races, the McLaren race team captures an average of more than 12 billion real-time data points from over 300 sensors embedded on its two race cars,” SMRT said.

“Expert analysis of the data allows the team to monitor in real-time, perform detailed analysis and make informed decisions in mission control to optimise on-track performance.”

Basically, SMRT believes that the data points captured in F1 races can be applied to MRT trains, as the F1 cars use sensors that are of “robust construction to withstand the stresses imposed during high speed races”, similar to the stresses an MRT train faces.

A memorandum of understanding between SMRT and Mclaren was signed in Singapore on Feb 23, in a ceremony witnessed by SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek and McLaren Group Acting CEO Dick Glover.

Pictured: Desmond Kuek (left) and Dick Glover (right). Sources: 1, 2 

In the press release today, SMRT stated that the two companies will be working together for solutions to monitor train motors, brakes, pneumatic systems and gearboxes on a test-bed SMRT train.

From the test-bed train, engineers will then validate the performance of McLaren’s technologies and sensors when used on MRT trains.

Mr Glover celebrated the partnership, saying: “We are excited to take this first step in Singapore with SMRT, working together to adapt our proven motorsport technologies to optimise fleet performance and provide continuous improvements to the passenger experience.”

This partnership with McLaren to improve condition-monitoring sensors comes not long after SMRT unveiled that it had hired Japanese firm Meiden to upgrade and renew the power supply system of the NS and EW lines in a contract worth S$500 million.

It had also contracted German industrial firm Siemens and French firm ENGIE Services Singapore, for the replacement of track circuit systems in a contract worth S$73 million.

Alongside the power supply and track circuit systems, the condition monitoring sensor system that the partnership with McLaren aims to improve make out 3 of 6 core systems that allow the MRT to work on a day to day basis.

Such spending on train improvements was made possible with transport having a higher priority in this year’s Budget, following multiple train breakdowns and disruptions recently.

Hopefully, incidences of train breakdowns and disruptions will be eliminated, or at least significantly reduced, in the near future.

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