How Mercedes-AMG F1 powertrain engineers are helping save lives
With the calendar for the 2020 Formula 1 season looking to be pushed forward indefinitely, teams and engineers are turning their considerable technical efforts to the coronavirus problem at hand, with Project Pitlane combining expertise. Apart from which, the Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains division, makers of the estimated 1,000PS hybrid powertrains that go into the team's F1 cars, has co-developed a breathing aid that could potentially save the lives of COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulties.
Other versions of the device, called a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), are already in use in hospitals worldwide and delivers oxygen to the lungs without the need for expensive and cumbersome ventilators, which also require intubation of the patient, and thus require professional administration and monitoring. The CPAP developed by Mercedes-AMG and University College London engineers can help keep patients who have trouble breathing out of the ICU, thus freeing up the system for critically ill patients to get the level of care they need. The device is said to have been reverse-engineered from an existing off-patent device, and improvements to the design have allowed for it to be mass produced in a short amount of time.
The reworked device has been approved for use by the government in the UK, and limited units have already been dispatched to hospitals for further trials. Mercedes-AMG HPP says they can make up to 1,000 units a day, and with the reported success rate of these type of CPAP devices in recovery standing at 50 per cent, this breakthrough will definitely help the UK health network. In India, manufacturers like Mahindra and Mahindra, and Maruti Suzuki have similar tie-ups with medical equipment manufacturers to help streamline and mass produce essential equipment.
Images courtesy Mercedes-AMG HPP & UCL