British engineering company McLaren Applied has begun installing its 5G antennas on Network Rail’s infrastructure monitoring train fleets and activating its Formula One-derived Fleet Connect software. 

The connectivity technology will be used to enhance the data harvesting done by Network Rail’s 14 monitoring trains and allow them to use live data streams to send sensor readings of the state of the infrastructure on the UK’s rail network. 

The UK-based engineering firm is part of the wider McLaren family, which operates the second oldest and second most-successful F1 racing team.

Pablo Garcia Lopez, director of connected intelligence business unit at McLaren Applied, said: “The roll out of Fleet Connect software and cutting-edge Active Antenna hardware is a great example of how British ingenuity and engineering, along with cross-industry knowledge, can solve prominent challenges in the transport sector. 

“The combined technology ensures that infrastructure monitoring trains can quickly and reliably transmit data throughout their journeys up and down the UK.” 

The engineering company’s Fleet Connect solution was originally developed for use in Formula One racing and allows data to be split across networks in real time, and “reassembled” in the cloud to reduce blackspots and provide a consistent connection for moving vehicles. 

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By GlobalData

Network Rail’s trains travel the network’s 20,000 miles of track to monitor bridges, tunnels, viaducts, railway tracks, and foliage, with the New Measurement Train recording 60,000 miles of data a year. 

The organisation’s contract with McLaren Applied was first signed in late 2022 with a five-year service agreement.