For an organisation built around the tenets of speed, no downtime caused by outdated technology will ever be acceptable.
Just as it installs efficient and lightweight powertrains on its electric race cars, Jaguar TCS Racing needs real-time data intelligence to augment the talent of its human drivers. Hence, the team needed to upgrade its data analytics platform, else it will be left in the dust.
Frontier Enterprise spoke with Phil Charles, Technical Manager, Jaguar TCS Racing, and Stephen McNulty, President, APJ, Micro Focus, on partnering to develop a winning formula for the highest class of competition for electrically powered racing cars.
Before teaming up with Micro Focus, Jaguar has been trailing with their data analytics.
“We were finding our analytics platform was struggling to keep pace with ever-growing data demands. The previous system was limiting loading and querying data, which restricted us to a set volume of data we could handle. This hampered us from analysing data as quickly and deeply as we wanted. Ultimately, this was holding back our performance on the track,” Charles revealed.
Realising that the most effective use of data is integral to success in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, it was clear that the old data platform had to be retired.
“The FIA, Formula E’s governing body, applies tight controls to the number of engineers allowed to access and interrogate such data. These restrictions mean that we must make the most of limited resources in very short and high-pressure time windows. To do so, we need to use the best techniques available in terms of data processing and analytics,” Charles noted.
Determined to win
Jaguar TCS Racing has been on a forward trajectory as of late, unveiling its new I-Type 5 race car just in time for the seventh season of the FIA Formula E championship in 2021. During that year, the team brought home eight podiums, two wins, one pole position, and 177 points scored.
The following year, Jaguar scored its first double podium in Formula E at Rome.
With all this momentum, the racing team clearly cannot be held back by speed bumps of any kind.
“Our technical partnership with Micro Focus offered the opportunity to explore a wide product portfolio and identify key performance-enabling technologies to align with our development. Alongside a product offering, the collaborative nature of our partnership means we have access to expertise and support across Micro Focus’ capability. Over a race weekend, we generate billions of data points across our two cars, and with Micro Focus, we are able to turn this information into valuable, actionable insights,” Charles remarked.
From its legacy NoSQL system, Jaguar TCS Racing migrated to Micro Focus’ machine-learning-powered Vertica analytics platform.
“Vertica’s real-time analytics and machine learning capabilities are a great fit for our environment, helping us improve data-driven performance both on and off the track. Vertica allows us to collect as much data as we can in a well-defined, centralised analytical database, and make it available to the relevant people incredibly quickly,” Charles said.
“What once took hours to load data from each race car with the team’s previous system, Vertica facilitates priority access to load key data sources within seconds. Jaguar TCS Racing is now able to analyse a larger volume of data in much more detail, revealing new insights that the team can use to make critical performance adjustments to each car’s powertrain, suspension, steering, braking, power management, and more,” noted McNulty.
Aside from Vertica, Jaguar TCS Racing also onboarded Micro Focus IDOL, an AI-driven platform providing text, audio, video, and image data analytics.
“(Through IDOL), the Jaguar TCS Racing team is able to cut through the noise and extract real-time value from unstructured data. With the team’s real-time intelligence, they are able to better harness unstructured data in the critical times throughout a race weekend,” McNulty said.
Just as a helmet would add protection to the driver in the event of a collision or any untoward incident during a race, a robust and secure platform would safeguard the team’s data assets.
Therefore, Jaguar TCS Racing has also utilised Micro Focus’s Fortify platform for application security.
“We use Fortify’s static analysis capabilities to analyse our source code as we develop new features or make enhancements. Fortify prioritises and categorises the findings so that we can address them immediately,” Charles said.
“We operate a cloud environment that makes it easy to collaborate between our factory HQ in the UK and any race location we attend in the world. Most of our application access is through web or API interfaces, and this is where Fortify’s dynamic scanning can make sure our code is robust and remains fully secure,” he added.
Prior to deployment, Micro Focus conducted some prep work to tailor its solutions to Jaguar’s needs, especially on matters of security.
“We conducted a cyber resilience assessment workshop to identify any risks and gaps in Jaguar TCS Racing’s technical environment. With the goal of improving the team’s application security in their rapidly evolving development infrastructure, the Fortify On Demand SaaS solution didn’t require any tooling change on Jaguar TCS Racing’s side and had minimal impact on operations,” McNulty said.
“The Fortify portal conducted its first scans against the team’s new and existing code, discovering a number of areas to enhance Jaguar TCS Racing’s existing API architecture and security approach. With the scans, the team was able to better identify and address issues faster,” he added.
Built for the long haul
With its eye on the horizon, and its pedal to the metal, Jaguar TCS Racing is showing no signs of slowing down, especially with the technologies that are onboard their journey for victory.
“The integration process has been seamless through the collaborative spirit of our partnership with Micro Focus. Working closely with technical experts for Vertica and IDOL, and supported by the Micro Focus Professional Services group, has enabled the implementation of solutions in the most efficient manner, without disruption to critical operations across Jaguar TCS Racing’s development activity,” Charles said.
For the team, all lights are green for the ninth season of the FIA Formula E championship, which kicks off in January 2023.
“Formula E is a highly dynamic sport, therefore it is hard to predict what technology will be used in the future. We look forward to the challenges we will face with the Gen3 Formula E cars coming next year, and we are certain our technical partners such as Micro Focus will be essential in helping us navigate this ever-changing landscape,” Jaguar TCS Racing’s technical manager concluded.