Students from the University of Bath are using an augmented reality (AR) tool developed by Rocketmakers to assist production of their 2019 Formula Student competition entry.
Although augmented reality has been used in tests and demonstrations previously by car manufacturers, this is believed to be the first time the technology will be used to build a car intended for use in competitive racing.
The car will be entered into this year’s Formula Student competition which is Europe’s most established educational motorsport competition, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
The Rocketmakers designed tool will be used to create an AR version of the cars monocoque, with the correct shape, location, and orientation of each segment visible to the wearer during the application process.
It is expected to improve accuracy rates over current methods. While carbon fibre laminates are typically applied by robots in production vehicles, their application in small-scale production is generally one of the more physically and mentally demanding parts of building bespoke vehicles. Current state-of-the-art, even for Formula 1 car construction, consists of placing a computer screen nearby and “eyeballing it.”
Team Bath Racing business manager and student at the University of Bath, Jack Harris, explained: “After you’ve spent most of a year designing a car, the week-long process of carbon fibre layup is really nerve-racking.
“We’ve been talking to Rocketmakers for months to determine where the best use of AR technology would be for assisting car construction. Carbon fibre layup is definitely one of those jobs that, despite the high-tech equipment we use for our design and testing, still relies mostly on hand-eye coordination. Having a tool to assist with the stressful, backbreaking process is really exciting.”
Rocketmakers provided its expertise in AR free of charge to Team Bath Racing as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to developing technology talent in Bath and the southwest of England.
Richard Godfrey, CEO of Rocketmakers said: “At Rocketmakers we love creating new innovations with the latest technology, and this is a great example. It will be great knowing when we see the Team Bath Racing car zip around the track that our designers had a hand in making it one of the world’s first AR-assisted cars.”