A £10m collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and academics could give the UK a global lead virtual simulation technology.
The firm will lead a five-year research programme with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and four leading UK universities to improve the quality and capabilities of simulation, using sights, sounds and even smells to make virtual simulation more realistic.
Giving engineers a more realistic perception of what a design might achieve, as well as giving them access to more powerful computers, will mean even more engineering can be virtual helping manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover deliver complex new vehicle programmes faster.
It will also help to save costs in product development by reducing the reliance on physical prototypes, as well as have environmental benefits by limiting the number of prototypes that need to be driven and tested in the real world.
Bob Joyce, Jaguar Land Rover engineering director, said: “While we already use a wide range of sophisticated virtual engineering tools and processes to design, engineer and test our new vehicles, we are keen to enhance the future capability of virtual simulation and tailor them for automotive product development.
“We want to make advances in the simulated driver and passenger experience, including more realistic imagery, sounds and even smells. These projects will help us analyse increasingly complex cars at whole vehicle, system and component levels, as well as enhancing the high-performance computers that industry will use in the future to mine increasing amounts of more complex data.
“Jaguar Land Rover believes the UK needs to be globally competitive in industrial innovation. Collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and academia to develop new automotive applications will give the UK an opportunity to take a lead in virtual simulation technology.”
The funding was announced by Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable during a visit to Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick today.
“With world-class universities and cutting-edge companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, the UK is well placed to be at the forefront of driving innovation and developing new technology,” he said.
“This investment will support the government’s industrial strategy by boosting the UK’s manufacturing capability and helping to keep us globally competitive.”
The funding is the first stage of a 20-year strategic project and will go to five new academic research projects, which form part of the Programme for Simulation Innovation (PSI), a partnership between Jaguar Land Rover and EPSRC, Loughborough University, University of Leeds, University of Cambridge and WMG.
The PSI is funded by Jaguar Land Rover (£4m), EPSRC (£4m) and partner Universities (£2m) and is split into two phases that will run over the next five years. The five projects announced today form the first phase and will make up 80 per cent of the programme.
EPSRC’s chief executive Professor David Delpy said: “This partnership shows how the research community can work hand in hand with industry to push boundaries in science and engineering.
“EPSRC’s role, as a sponsor of innovative research, has been to work with Jaguar Land Rover to define the longer-term research needs of the industry, issue a call for proposals and facilitate robust peer review.”
The five projects are:
• Analysis of the vehicle as a complex system (Loughborough, Leeds)
• Multi-physics and multi-functional simulation (Loughborough)
• Driving simulation (Leeds)
• High performance computing and simulation knowledge mining and abstraction (Cambridge)
• Visualisation and virtual experience (Warwick)