Williams has extensive experience using state-of-the-art simulators in Formula One allowing drivers to prepare more effectively for grands prix. That expertise has been applied to Formula E and then on to a host of sectors outside of motorsport – from developing road cars to training pilots of fast jets.
Williams is one of a small number of racing teams to have developed its own advanced simulator programme. Since 2001, Williams has pioneered state-of-the-art simulation technologies in order to create virtual and predictive engineering tools to improve its real world racing performance. Much of the technology is proprietary, from the physics engine that underpins the simulation to the integration of vehicle models and hardware interfaces. The extended focal length screen technology, control interfaces and advanced audio provide a highly immersive sensory environment for the driver.
A variety of enabling technologies, techniques and software tools have been developed to enable this, such as processing laser point cloud data to generate high fidelity models of real environments such as racetracks. Williams has also developed the latest state-of-the-art motion system. This system is a leading technology in motion platform systems with high bandwidth capability. The technology is a significant step-change in the overall envelope of movement and sensitivity of incremental accuracy, when compared to known commercial alternatives.
The main consideration of this motion platform is ‘onset’ cueing whereby the driver feels the onset of oversteer, Williams believes this is key to next generation high level simulators necessary for connected and autonomous vehicle testing.
In 2015, Williams Advanced Engineering was a partner on the UK Government’s VENTURER consortium, creating a bespoke simulator that could test the project’s autonomous cars in a virtual environment before they hit the road. Williams Advanced Engineering is also a member of the VENTURER Alliance, a collaborative partnership which has been created to continue the pioneering work of the innovative £5-million government co-funded VENTURER research and development project. Launched in July 2018 and made up of the original founding members of the project, the VENTURER Alliance offers proven expertise and a commitment to working with industry and government to take the next steps towards connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) implementation.
Williams has also been a technical partner with AB Dynamics, supporting on the development of its fully immersive Advanced Vehicle Driving Simulator. Major applications of the road car simulator include the development of vehicle handling and safety systems.
Most recently, Williams Advanced Engineering has supported BAE Systems on the development of its state-of-the-art multi-million pound cockpit development and training facility, the Training and Simulation Integration Facility (TSIF) based at Warton, Lancashire. The facility contains simulation capabilities for multiple aircraft types including BAE Systems’ Hawk, Typhoon and future concept aircraft. In 2018, Williams Advanced Engineering also built the Future Training Cockpit Simulator for the same BAE Systems training facility. Designed by Williams Advanced Engineering, in collaboration with BAE Systems, the system harnesses advanced Formula One-derived design and engineering knowledge to deliver a twin-seat cockpit simulator for the training of UK and international future pilots and navigators. The new capability is flexible to varying requirements and can be reconfigured to resemble a range of training and fast jet cockpit environments, allowing users to experience the next generation of simulated environments.