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Case Study

Land Rover BAR

CHAMPIONING MARINE MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT WITH A GLOBAL REACH

At Coderus, whether working on mobile app development or embedded technologies, we believe in pushing the boundaries, putting user experience, together with our clients’ requirements and objectives, at the heart of everything we do.

Delivering end to end solutions across the consumer, business and enterprise sectors, our experts in mobile app development help businesses to connect and engage with customers across the globe. Whatever the sector – from automotive, through IoT, to marine and beyond – we excel at designing a wide range of app solutions that deliver true benefits and exceed expectations, developed on the full range of mobile platforms.

LAND ROVER BAR – British Challenger for the 2017 AMERICA’S CUP

Did you know, the 2017 America's Cup boats can sail four times faster than the wind?

Sailing one of the most technologically advanced boats in the world at incredibly high speeds and in challenging conditions, it’s no wonder Land Rover BAR needed a robust and resilient mobile app that could act as a virtual seventh crew member for a team working at the very limits of their capacity.

The brief

With its substantially greater physical demands, smaller crew, higher speeds and more extreme environment, Ben Ainslie – skipper of the Land Rover BAR team – compares his role sailing in the America’s Cup to that of “a fighter pilot or Formula 1 driver”.

Working together with BT, we were approached to develop an app for use on mobile devices and wearable tech that could intuitively show critical information throughout the America’s Cup races – with no user interaction.

Our software needed to be crafted to ensure its operation kept pace with events as they unfolded and configurable to an individual’s specifications, according to their role and their personal preferences.

Did you know that by the time the team took to the water for the round-robin qualifiers on 27th May, nearly 1,500 days had been spent designing and engineering their boats?

The Coderus solution

Our ground-breaking mobile app for Land Rover BAR brought a unique solution to one of the most difficult and high-profile technology problems in high performance racing.

After three months of agile development sprints and testing sessions, followed by three months maintenance, all with Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, engineers from the team, user experience architects from BT and Coderus, our app was designed to provide critical data to the team about the strategic layout of the course, the position of the boat, how many legs of the race were left and the time and distance to the next boundary. All allowing the team to make swift tactical decisions and giving them maximum time for manoeuvring.

Did you know that the leader at the start of each race is expected to win up to 80% of America’s Cup races?

The Coderus app was also designed to tell the team exactly when to power up, allowing them to cross the start line on the very second the race began, gaining a critical advantage by getting the team in front at Mark 1.

Flexing to the needs of all concerned, the technology works on a tablet screen and a smart watch, alerting crew members as they glanced down and offering them instant, real-time information about the sailing course. On board the boat the team used highly water-resistant Android tablets and watches, while data was collected via hundreds of sensors. The Coderus app recorded the relevant data and its own state; if an issue arose during development, this was forwarded to our team, allowing us to continuously improve functionality.

Methodology

The Land Rover BAR team chose the Android tablet and Android Wear devices to meet the challenging conditions presented. With the rapid and agile development of the app, our sprints of developing and testing were scheduled for a standard two-week duration. Running in the background during testing, Crashlytics Beta allowed us to quickly identify the causes of any crashes or failure and apply solutions for the next release.

Review and planning sessions took place via conference call, allowing rapid response times and a more environmentally sustainable approach.

Technology

Our app was driven by data from a server that had been developed by the Land Rover BAR team, with the race boat set up as an independent network to which tablets were connected via Wi-Fi. This infrastructure allowed for multiple tablets. In addition, multiple Android Wear watches were connected to a single tablet via Bluetooth, resulting in less hardware to manage and distribute.

To overcome the level of configuration required and the rate of iteration in the programme, we developed a custom scene graph engine. This allowed for data to be attached to moving objects on screen, building complex visualisations with relative ease. Not only was the Android Wear application to present information, it also needed to alert the user through specific vibration patterns configured by the user.

A recording feature captured data from the server, enabling race recordings to be shared while also highlighting where app behaviour needed to be modified. The tablet application logged information to generate app logs in text, giving insight on real use while on-board, where it would not, otherwise, have been possible.

The results

A pioneering and resilient mobile app that offered the ultimate confidence to the Land Rover BAR team – secure, resilient and reliable in the challenging conditions of the fast-paced America’s Cup.

The Land Rover BAR team reported that battery performance per device allowed a day’s racing – with up to four races per day. What’s more, our app facilitated the team in being the most tactical leading up to the start of each race and the fastest over the line when countdown finished.

“We were desperate for an app that could act as a virtual seventh crew member and become central to our decision-making process during the race, providing Ben and I with the data that we really need to gain a competitive advantage. We’ve had great support from BT and Coderus through all stages of the development, from design, build and refinement out on the water.”
Giles Scott, Sailing Team Tactician, Land Rover BAR

“We have teams across the globe dedicated to hunting the most talented user experience and software experts. We found that the very best expertise lay with Coderus in our start-up hub at Adastral Park, and we’re delighted to be supporting and working with such an innovative UK tech start-up.”
Howard Watson, Service and Operations CEO, BT Technology

“This has been a fantastic example of how our collaboration with our technical partners can bring out the best of both teams, and allow us to achieve far more than we could do as a Cup team alone. We’ve managed to merge our in-house sailing and tactical expertise with the software development knowledge of BT and Coderus.”
Richard Hopkirk, Engineering Manager, Land Rover BAR


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Land Rover BAR

CHAMPIONING MARINE MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT WITH A GLOBAL REACH

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