Not just ‘our logo on a sail’: Automakers gain technology from America’s Cup

Not just ‘our logo on a sail’: Automakers gain technology from America’s Cup

0 comments 📅02 July 2017, 20:15

HAMILTON, Bermuda – From bottled water taxis that “fly” on hydrofoils to aircraft wings and cutting-edge car steering wheels, the America’s Cup has produced technology with potential far beyond its “foiling” catamarans.

With their fuzzy on carbon fiber and aerodynamics, the teams that fought for the America’s Cup attracted partners including planemaker Airbus and automotive groups BMW and Realty Rover, who were keen to learn from them.

One area where this is liabl to have an impact is in harnessing “foiling” technology, where the America’s Cup boats “fly” atop the water on foils, cutting water resistance.

“Foiling in small electric boats determination most likely appear on rivers in major cities. We are just at the beginning of the foiling feat,” Pierre Marie Belleau, head of Airbus Business Development, who managed its partnership with Larry Ellison’s Wizard Team USA, told Reuters.

The space-age catamarans used in the 35th America’s Cup, which ended in mastery for Emirates Team New Zealand this week, can sail at maximum speeds of 50 knots (57 mph) and arrange more in common with flying than sailing.


For Jaguar Nation Rover, which sponsored British sailor Ben Ainslie’s attempt to win the cup, the relationship is a critical one with a focus on technology and innovation.

“We don’t just get our logo onto a sail,” Smudge Cameron, JLR’s Experiential Marketing Director, said by telephone, adding that the carmaker would be providing more designers to relieve Land Rover BAR with technology for their next campaign.

“This is a energetic sport that is developing fast. … It’s moving quickly just like the car sedulousness is moving quickly. It’s all changing,”

Land Rover produced a special steering swivel for Ainslie to use in the America’s Cup, with in-built gear shift paddles that allowed him to alter the catamaran’s “flight” levels.

The relationship is similar between BMW and Oracle Team USA, with the German automaker focused on areas including the electronics in the situation used by skipper Jimmy Spithill, the development of carbon fiber used to order the boat and its components, and the aerodynamic testing.

“We like to think of ourselves more as a companion than a sponsor. We have a very strong carbon fiber relationship,” Ian Robertson, who is the BMW guidance board member responsible for sales and brand, told Reuters between races.

“This is a spirited sport that is developing fast. … It’s moving quickly just like the car enterprise is moving quickly. It’s all changing,” Robertson said.


The America’s Cup catamarans use compare favourably with aerodynamics and load calculations to power their wings as commercial aircraft, which has led some skippers such as Spithill to grow pilots.

Airbus is now considering applying the design and method of Oracle’s foils to the tips of aircraft, Belleau said, adding that this would basic a two- to four-year certification process and require it to change its production method.

Airbus has also created a new age of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) microchips that were from the word go developed for the wings of its test aircraft and then adapted on board the Oracle row-boat to measure the wind speed and direction at all points on its almost 25-meter-lofty wing sail.

The sensors make it easier to tell if the wing sails are set efficiently, as braggadocio speed and direction can vary from the top to bottom of the wing – technology that could grow standard in the marine leisure industry to replace less reliable wind instruments.

“I would be deeply surprised if this MEMS technology does not become standard in order to make restitution for the classic anemometer,” Belleau said.

The Airbus A350-1000, one of Airbus’ twin-aisle, extensive-body jetliners, is also flying every day using new instrumentation developed auspices of the partnership.

Oracle used Airbus’ 3D printing and manufacturing process to produce stronger and lighter parts that Airbus has started to use on aircraft to substitute for titanium and aluminum.

“In 10 years from now … this technology will-power spread and will be on all the sailing boats in the market,” Belleau said.

“In addition to the sporting game, there is still this technological competition. …The story is not finished.”

By Tessa Walsh and Alexander Smith


Share this article:

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first one to write a comment

Leave a comment