Collaboration spotlight: Alex Thomson Racing

As technology partner to Alex Thomson Racing, we are enhancing and optimizing the performance of the skipper and the boat with the singular goal of winning the solo, unassisted, around the world 2020 Vendée Globe race.

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Augmenting Alex

Increasing his real-time understanding of himself and of the boat is critically important to Alex in order to minimize errors and optimize his effective decision-making during the race. Advanced sensors, worn by Alex and integrated into the boat, collect a large amount of data and are linked to sophisticated data analytics and machine learning algorithms. This human-machine synthesis keeps track of Alex’s physiological well-being, the performance of the boat and the ever-changing environmental conditions and provides the critical up-to-the-second inputs he needs to avoid the perils of the open sea.
  1. On-Alex biometric sensors

    A custom-built wearable device, optimized for Alex, continuously monitors Alex’s physiological well-being and analyzes his heart rate, mobility, calorie consumption, sleep and work level.

  2. Onboard sensors and HD cameras

    An array of hardened sensors tracking the ever-changing ocean conditions and a network of 9 cameras augment the performance of the boat delivering live video streams for a full 360 surround view of the boat and the sails. Ultimately, this creates the best viewing experience in the completely enclosed cockpit while limiting Alex’s time spent outside and exposure to the weather elements.

  3. Onboard data visualization

    Custom-built mobile applications present Alex with the most relevant information, giving him full awareness of himself and his environment without burdening him with an excess of data and guiding him towards effective decision-making.

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Augmenting the boat

The new state-of-the-art HUGO BOSS IMOCA 60 monohull sailboat is equipped with cutting-edge technologies ranging from augmented intelligence and wearable devices to sensors, machine learning, analytics, and advanced communications solutions based on Nokia Bell Labs innovations.
  1. Optimized mission critical connectivity

    With seamless and reliable connectivity, Alex is able to get timely, reliable weather information for his navigational and routing systems and at the same time remain connected with his family and fans onshore during the harshest of conditions and in the most remote parts of the world.

  2. Onboard edge intelligence and compute server

    The onboard compute server collects, stores and analyzes data from all sensors and interfaces with the critical boat systems. Designed for rugged environments and with optimized size, weight and power consumption, it serves as the central brain of the onboard intelligence and data analytics modules that power the real-time awareness and optimization of the boat.

  3. Augmented intelligent auto-pilot

    Sophisticated machine learning models and algorithms enhance the performance, robustness and stability of the onboard auto-pilot system through automated sensor-driven adjustments and performance prediction. An easy-to-use human interface allows Alex to configure and fine-tune the auto-pilot settings and parameters.

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Putting technologies to the test in the world’s oceans

The challenges Alex will encounter during the race represent a microcosm of our broader focus on 5G-enabled industrial automation and IoT. While the collaboration seeks to optimize the performance of the sailing team, the partnership is focused on developing and testing cutting-edge technologies in extreme, remote and mission-critical environments — in this case, the oceans of the world.
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From the ocean’s surface to the factory floor

Innovations created through this partnership have clear industrial applications, including factory automation, smart cities or autonomous mining vehicles. Just as Alex is connected to all aspects of his boat and surroundings, a factory supervisor could be connected to every piece of assembly line equipment. Both will know instantly when and where to make adjustments on human and machine levels.