How Land Rover BAR Hopes Wearables, Mobile Apps & 4G Will Deliver America’s Cup Glory

Silicon pays a visit to the south coast to find out how Ben Ainslie Racing is using mobile technology to power its bid for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda

It was decided a mobile application would be the best way to distribute the insights from the data hub, and BT created a prototype user experience (UX) before looking for a developer that could realise their vision of an application that could be independent of third party services like Google Maps.

BT enlisted the support of Coderus, which is actually located at BT’s Adastral Park R&D centre. It was required to use off the shelf hardware, ensure long battery life, reliable connectivity and low latency. It has been tested for the past 12 months and Android was chosen as the software platform simply because at the time it offered waterproof wearables and mobile devices.

“We can’t afford lag,” said Mark Thomas, Coderus CEO. “We have to make sure that performance is all the way through the app.”


“We chose Android because we needed waterproofing. Had Apple added that in, those decisions might have been different but a year ago we went the Android route.

“The project for Coderus has been great, its showcased some of our core values and processes. We looking forward and hope the app brings the cup back home.”

The app serves up information at a glance, makes use of haptics, and is battery efficient, providing details on the optimum path, best jives and shortcuts for the race course. Race boundaries are actually virtual, meaning it also helps the tactician avoid penalties by going out of bounds.

Crucially, the app is also able to tell the sailors when to start so they can cross the start line at the exact moment the race starts so they can reach the first mark. The team that reaches mark 1 is the eventual victor four fifths of the time.



“The app is a huge time saver, it gives me all the critical information I need to make a good decision,” said tactician Giles Scott in response to a question from Silicon. “In the simplest terms, it saves me having to look around. It gives me a piece of data to make the right call.

“Every day we have it on the boat … in this type of racing it’s a necessity.

“You’ll see the racing is a lot more precise and we’re making better decisions. I don’t think it takes the intuition out. It works purely on facts and data. It can’t see what’s coming up, what our competitors are doing, the pressure on the course etc. It’s really just an aide. The crucial decisions will come from the sailor and that’s the way it should be.


“Every day we go racing, a team boat follows us around and we keep an eye on what everyone else is doing. With this type of technology, its much easier to hide because it can tuck under the boat. I think all of the teams will be using this kind of technology, but whether it’s as good as ours, I don’t know.”

The racing kicks off on 26 May where BAR will compete to become the challenger to Team Oracle USA, bankrolled by Larry Ellison. In the 2013 event, the team staged one of sport’s greatest ever comebacks powered by Ainslie himself and a little bit of network technology.

Should the same thing happen again, then 168 years of sporting hurt could finally be at an end.

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