18 July 2016

Sir Ben Ainslie has hailed Land Rover’s artificial intelligence (AI) as a ‘game changer’ ahead of the British America’s Cup team’s home event in Portsmouth (22-24 July).

  • Sir Ben Ainslie says Land Rover’s artificial intelligence (AI) could prove the difference in bid to win the America’s Cup for the first time for Britain
  • Land Rover’s big data processing and machine learning technology will help Land Rover BAR create the world’s fastest match racing catamaran
  • Ex Formula 1 engineer Richard Hopkirk hails Land Rover’s power to crunch ‘F1 levels of data’ as crucial in pursuit of marginal gains
  • Land Rover’s Self Learning Car technology helping to crack the code for increased boat performance
  • Land Rover BAR team aims to bring home world’s oldest sporting trophy to Britain for the first time in its 165-year history
  • Land Rover BAR race in Portsmouth 22 – 24 July for next leg of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series

Monday 18th July 2016, Whitley: Sir Ben Ainslie has hailed Land Rover’s artificial intelligence (AI) as a ‘game changer’ ahead of the British America’s Cup team’s home event in Portsmouth (22-24 July).

Land Rover, Title and Exclusive Innovation Partner to Land Rover BAR, is applying its big data processing power and machine learning expertise to help co-engineer the fastest boat in America’s Cup history and bring the world’s oldest sporting trophy to the UK for the first time.

Land Rover engineers, embedded into the team for over a year, are using artificial intelligence to explore and find patterns in sailing performance data to help ‘make the boat go faster’.  When testing, the sailing team receives over 16 GB of uncompressed data per day from sensors on the boat - the equivalent of filling an iPhone’s memory. The ability to process and make sense of this volume of data is unprecedented in sailing. Something that would have taken weeks can now be achieved instantaneously thanks to Land Rover’s computing power and real-time analysis.

The power of intelligent machines is a vital area where Land Rover’s research and development division is adding considerable strength to Land Rover BAR’s challenge to win the America’s Cup. The 34th America’s Cup showed just how important it is to maintain stable flight on the foils through these manoeuvres. Land Rover is helping us understand what makes the difference between staying airborne and crashing back into the waves. We know races can be won or lost by a matter of seconds and this is where Land Rover’s AI could prove the difference.

Sir Ben Ainslie
Land Rover BAR Team Principal and Skipper

Machine learning evolved from the study of pattern recognition and computational learning theory in artificial intelligence (AI). Sailing is a perfect application for these technologies because there are many variables - mainly the wind.  

Sensors on the testing boats measure more than 300 variables from fibre optic strain measurement to six-axis accelerometer and sonic sensors which measure the distance from the boat to the water. Richard Hopkirk, Land Rover BAR Head of Systems and Analysis, is acutely aware of the importance this data has in giving the team a competitive edge.

Unlike a Formula 1 car – where the engine’s power output can be accurately calibrated – the wind is constantly changing. This makes it difficult to quantify performance improvements when the power input is unknown.

This is where Land Rover’s machine learning expertise comes in. The intelligent algorithms can sort through vast quantities of data and see patterns in the variables; patterns that could never be recognised by a human analyst; patterns that ultimately can make the difference between winning and losing a race.

Richard Hopkirk
Land Rover BAR Head of Systems and Analysis

Jaguar Land Rover is an automotive pioneer in machine learning. Its Self Learning Car is working to provide the ultimate intelligent driving experience by understanding and working with the driver's personal preferences.

Mauricio Muñoz is part of the Self Learning Car team and the Land Rover engineer spearheading this project. After graduating from university in Germany and completing a Masters in software engineering (Munich) and machine learning (at MIT in Boston) he was recruited directly into Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Engineering Team.

The 27 year-old’s first task was to analyse specific manoeuvres, looking for the optimal way to sail the boat.  Since then he has applied machine learning to model the stability of the boat for optimum speed.

At Jaguar Land Rover we are using machine learning techniques to identify behavioural patterns, how people go about interacting with their cars, with the end goal of automating a lot of it.

The project at Land Rover BAR is a bit different. The focus is not so much whether the pattern is there but what is causing the pattern and how to visualize it. Understanding this will present a radically new view of on-the-water performance, leading to better decision-making in the boat design and testing cycle.

Mauricio Muñoz
Land Rover engineer - Part of the Self Learning Car team

Muñoz is one of many young talented Jaguar Land Rover engineers lending their expertise to the Land Rover BAR design team.

Land Rover BAR is second in the America’s Cup World Series rankings following a podium finish in Chicago. The next leg is in front of a home crowd in Portsmouth (21-24 July), when they will try to close the ten-point gap to series leaders Emirates Team New Zealand.  



Further information

For further information log onto or contact:

Lydia Haley
Senior Press Officer
+44 2476 564 147 / +44 7730 923 507

Notes to Editors

Land Rover 

Since 1948 Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s that represent true 'breadth of capability' across the model range. Defender, Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque each define the world's 4x4 sectors, with 80% of this model range exported to over 170 countries.

Land Rover is ‘Title Partner’ and ‘Exclusive Innovation Partner’ of Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR). Land Rover is applying its expertise in advanced engineering, cutting edge design and innovative technological solutions to Land Rover BAR in its attempt to win the America’s Cup.

About Land Rover BAR

Sarah Alexander, Land Rover BAR Press Officer t. +44 7766 391 276 / +44 1489 587 838

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) was launched on June 10th 2014 in the presence of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. The team was conceived by four times Olympic gold medalist and 34th America's Cup winner, Sir Ben Ainslie, with the long-term aim of challenging for Britain and bringing the America's Cup back home to where it all began in 1851. Ben has developed and will lead a British entry capable of winning the prestigious trophy, something Britain has so far never managed to achieve.

Land Rover BAR is a commercial sporting team, with a number of individual private investors alongside corporate partners. The team is made up of some of the best British and international sailors, designers, builders and racing support.

Sports teams represent key role models in society. This privileged position is not taken for granted at Land Rover BAR. The team believe our influence should extend far beyond the race course, and have put sustainability at the heart of operations since launching the team with Exclusive Sustainability Partner 11th Hour Racing in 2014.

The team have built a new headquarters in the centre of Portsmouth, the 74,000 sq ft. building houses all the team's activities, and will welcome the public into its Tech Deck education centre.

The 1851 Trust is the team's official charity, and HRH The Duchess of Cambridge is its Royal Patron.

Portsmouth will host a second Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series event on 21st-24th July 2016. Almost a quarter of a million spectators enjoyed the action in Portsmouth in 2015, with 25,000 of them taking to the water - more are expected to come back in 2016 to watch the racing and cheer for the home team. #BringTheCupHome