Southampton University simulator

Formula One World Championship teams have been using technically-advancedsimulators for several years to develop both car and driver performancewithout the need to physically test on track.Thanks to a unique partnership between the P1 Marine Foundation andSouthampton University simulator technology is being introduced intopowerboat racing in a move which could revolutionise driver training andparticipation in championships such as P1's SuperStock series.Simulators provide the most immersive racing experience possible outside ofa boat, allowing a driver to experience track lay-out and handling withoutgoing near the water. Southampton University is engaged in a project usingsimulators to investigate and then reduce shock and vibration levels duringtraining of drivers and navigators and called P1 in to help.Developing a realistic training environment is not a trivial process asresearchers have to carefully consider the many factors influencing the boatduring a race as well as how it is driven by the pilot. The simulator isdesigned to assess human driver performance in relation to a variety ofmeasures including eye movements."This project forms part of a wider research programme into the design ofhigh performance craft that more effectively reduce human exposure to shockand vibration", said a spokeman for the university. "We anticipate that thesimulator will provide a valuable training platform for powerboat driversand will allow them to gain experience of driving powerboats at high speedin a variety of realistic sea conditions without exposing them to the highlevels of vibration and repeated shock."P1 Marine Foundation's active collaboration with Southampton Universitystarted recently when P1 SuperStock driver Andy Wilby took part in a recentexperiment.Andy (pictured) was among the leading drivers fighting for podium places inthe national SuperStock Championship this season at the wheel of hisstriking boat Typhoo. Through the Marine Foundation he was able to take partin a race simulation experiment set up by the Psychology Department basedupon recording data from tracking a driver's eye movements.The University of Southampton and P1 remain committed to pushing forwardresearch into powerboat performance for improved safety and sustainabilityin the future.Alongside the high speed craft simulator project, the University has alsobeen engaged with the P1 Marine Foundation investigating the effect ofpropeller immersion on engine power and torque requirements and sustainablealternatives to glass reinforced polymer construction for increasedtoughness.