Renault Sports Racing and Microsoft— Partnering for Digital Transformation
Renault Sport Formula One Team (formerly known as Lotus F1 Team) begins its partnership with Microsoft, following an extensive assessment of vendors in markets Its deployment of Dynamics AX was directed at improvements in financials, HR, purchasing and materials management. The Team transformed its Aerodynamics division by bringing the department online in October 2013. The division, also known as “Aero” internally, is where first prototypes come to life. By transforming the division, the Team was able to streamline engineering processes, where thousands of iterations of experimental shapes and parts can be handled in an optimal manner with Microsoft Dynamics AX in the cloud. The Team continued its transformation by bringing the rest of its manufacturing and production planning and scheduling online. Previously, multiple departments were managing the building of the cars manually through spreadsheets. With the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics AX, planning teams are able to benefit greatly from streamlined processes, even with rapid manufacturing changes on a daily basis. The Team also went live with Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. In addition, the Team also implemented Microsoft SQL Server and StreamInsight for real-time analytics of telemetry data captured from in-car sensors. The Team fully deployed Microsoft Cloud, including Office 365 which enabled employees to have unlimited email storage, as well as a set of integrated applications that enabled them to access data on-the-go, thus increasing collaboration among team members. More importantly, Office 365 has helped to reduce travel and flights between sites by 50% and mobile phone costs by 30%. (2017 data) In addition, these cloud-based tools also allowed the team to analyse data from race performance, operations and even customer management to maximize performance on and off the track in an agile manner. 30 on-premise servers were also decommissioned and replaced by a Microsoft-supported cloud environment. The Team was able to benefit from the seamless integration between Dynamics AX and Power BI (Microsoft’s visualization tool) with Office 365 for Business to fully harness the power of the cloud. Transition continues with Team’s adoption of Microsoft Dynamics 365’s flexible enterprise resource-planning (ERP) tools to ensure smooth delivery of new parts and components. Previously, the team would produce a spreadsheet of over 77,000 lines per season. The team also saw 20% efficiency improvement in the manufacturing process from design to stores for selected parts Renault Sport Formula One Team will be working to tap on the power of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence by integrating telemetry data captured, with the support of Microsoft to better their lap times and aim for a podium finish. The Team is also exploring the use of HoloLens for maintenance of the race cars and equipment, and for design review between factories to enable a perfect integration of the chassis and power unit.
engineers at the two factories based in United Kingdom and France, in reduced time. Adds Simon, “One other benefit of hosting data in the Microsoft Cloud is the ability to immediately gain insights and offer corrections before the start of the next race.”
New technologies such as machine learning also play a huge role. Says Pierre, “With Azure Machine Learning, we are able to understand and optimize our race cars’ performances, such as predicting and creating an accurate tyre degradation model for simulation for every race course. This will allow our drivers to feel as though they are inside a race car on the circuit during simulation sessions. The accuracy of such simulations can save up to one second per lap – which can mean the difference between winning or losing the championship.”
Beating the odds of time, building a car, and putting it to race is the ultimate test for seamless collaboration between teams. Pierre gives us a sense of this when he says that it takes more than 1,000 professionals from various functions and offices to design, build and operate the two cars for 20 races every season. There are also around 90 people working on-the-go during the race season.By using Office 365, and particularly Skype for Business, Renault’s teams can seamlessly collaborate between engineering, logistics, and operations teams. The team is also exploring the use of HoloLens for the maintenance of the race cars and equipment, and for design review between factories to enable a perfect integration of the chassis and power unit.
The Renault team is already working to tap on the power of AI by integrating telemetry data captured by the 200 sensors in the cars to better anticipate issues on and off tracks – including engine and power unit performance in various race conditions. Says Pierre, “We want to be ahead of the game, and making our data work for us before and during the race is crucial.”
(L-R) Pierre d’Imbleval, CIO, Renault Sport Formula One Team and Simon Davies, Vice President for Microsoft Business Solutions, Microsoft Asia