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INEOS TEAM UK and Coderus revolutionise the America's Cup boat development process with Chimera

by INEOS TEAM UK 11 Jun 2020 04:50 PDT
Britannia back on home waters in the Solent © Cameron Gregory

INEOS TEAM UK and team software design partner Coderus have developed a game-changing new software that greatly improves the speed and accuracy with which innovation and design creativity can be handled in the boat design development process.

The new software is code-named Chimera and its development has been led by INEOS TEAM UK's Chief Designer Nick Holroyd. Chimera makes it possible for a designer to sketch an idea on a screen and for that idea to then travel seamlessly and without further intervention all the way to the final CFD run.

The innovative software can take a design, add it to a model of the whole boat, and then run it through the team's Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) to test whether it will make the boat faster or not. If positive, Chimera can then prepare the model for a full simulation run across many different boat states in the team's CFD program.

To make the most of Chimera, however, the team needed to bring the software to life by developing a user interface (UI). This is where INEOS TEAM UK partner, Coderus, came to the fore.

Coderus - a Cypress Design Partner, Microchip's App Developer Specialist and an Authorised Design Centre for Qualcomm - brought their expertise in application development and high-quality user interfaces to the team to develop the UI for Chimera. This is software that now sits at the very heart of the team's creative design process.

Coderus, having been a team partner for the previous challenge for the 35th America's Cup, quickly understood the needs of the team's competitive environment and, working with Nick Holroyd and INEOS TEAM UK, created a unique and innovative software that has significantly improved the design team's workflow and increased the throughput of ideas in both speed and accuracy.

Speaking about the development of Chimera INEOS TEAM UK Chief Designer Nick Holroyd said:
"With the expertise of experienced programmers and CFD engineers in the team such as Andy Bryson and Nitin Garg we knew we would be able to handle the background data that would be passed from one test to another, but to be able to develop the UI we required extra resource and that is where Coderus were invaluable.

"Coderus' software engineers and experience in all stages of development enabled us to bring Chimera to life and develop a real game-changing piece of software as we develop and design the fastest boat possible for the 36th America's Cup."

The America's Cup has always been a design and technology contest as much as a sailboat race, and the current set of rules doubles down on that emphasis. The new concept of the AC75 boat has a very open set of parameters that encourage rather than limit innovation, particularly in hull, foil and systems design.

Specifically, the new rules have banned testing in wind tunnels and towing tanks. They have also banned teams from sailing more than one boat at a time. In doing so they have banned all the normal 'real', as opposed to virtual, methods of development. The previous gold standard of development, two-boat testing, is no longer possible.

Therefore, INEOS TEAM UK had to shift the emphasis of testing to the virtual environment. The first step was to ensure sufficient compute resource to get more accurate solutions faster at every stage of the process, but it was also crucial to streamline the workflow by which ideas travel from the initial inspiration to each new test.

Historically, the hindrances of a virtual design workflow is that each step requires the idea to be represented in a different digital format. The VPP, for example, needs something different to the CFD. The Chimera software removes these frustrations and inherent hold-ups and allows the team to seamlessly take an idea from the designer's initial sketch right through to a final CFD run.

Mark Thomas, Coderus CEO added:
"It has been great working with INEOS TEAM UK again on these new set of challenges for the 36th America's Cup and building on our previous learning. The Chimera challenge is a great example of how Coderus is a leading Design Services provider and how our developed software solutions have helped to improve efficiencies and capabilities and allow the team to be able to push the boundaries even more."

To read more about Coderus' partnership with INEOS TEAM UK read a case study on the Coderus website here.

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