Formula 1 team Williams spends more than £100million trying to make two cars whizz round a track as quickly as possible – and now it is investing in emergency transportation for new-born babies.
Tots at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital will be welcomed into the world in a high-tech carbon fibre tube which can withstand a 20 G-force crash.
It is the same technology the Grove-based outfit uses to protect its drivers in high-speed crashes to create a safe environment for newborn babies needing emergency transportation.
The Williams Babypod 20, produced by its advanced engineering arm, costs £5,000 per unit and replaces previously-used heavy and cumbersome incubators that required an external electricity supply.
Managing director of the advanced engineering unit Craig Wilson said: “The parallels between a Formula 1 car and transport device for babies may not be immediately apparent.
“Both demand a lightweight and strong structure that keeps the occupant safe in the event of an accident, and can monitor vital signs while remaining easily transportable and accessible.”
He added that the Babypod, based on an Advanced Healthcare Technology (AHT) design from 2015, could be scaled up in its production so more hospitals can benefit from the Formula 1-inspired technology.
Williams Advanced Engineering has been contracted to manufacture a maximum of 500 pods a year at its Williams headquarters in Grove.
Lightweight and easy to handle, the Babypod can attach to any transport stretcher whether on a trolley or in an ambulance, car or even helicopter.
Design director of Hertfordshire-based AHT Mark Lait said: “Our focus over the last 10 years has been to provide safe transport and occupancy devices for babies and small children.
“This design has also delivered improved features of protection against vibration and noise and the dangers related to impact.”