Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

News

24 Mar 2015

Helping to shape aircraft of the future with £16 million project

An artists impression of a future aircraft design

Loughborough University is part of a major £16 million Government funded project that will transform air travel and lead to the creation of ground breaking new aircraft.

The research team will use virtual engineering techniques and big data analytics to help design aircraft of the future.

The project was announced by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable MP as part of a £100 million investment by the Government in the UK aerospace industry.

The strategically important Agile Wing Integration research project is aimed at developing rapid and world-beating wing design for aircraft, as well as helping to shape future air transport operating systems.

Sponsored by Innovate UK, it is an exciting collaborative project bringing together expertise from Airbus, Airbus Group Innovations, Marshalls Aerospace and the Universities of Loughborough, Cranfield and Bristol. It is being led by Airbus.

Together they will explore the changing demands on air transport systems and develop the high value technologies and game-changing wing concepts that aircraft will need to serve them.

The Loughborough team, from the School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering, has been awarded £519,000. It will develop next generation modelling and simulation techniques, by incorporating big data visual analytics, to create technologically advanced aircraft design solutions. The team will also investigate the underpinning stakeholder strategies and market drivers for future air transport systems, such as increased consumer demand and stricter environmental controls on emissions.

Professor Roy Kalawsky, Director of the Advanced VR Research Centre is leading Loughborough’s involvement in the project. He said: “We are delighted to receive this funding. There are many challenges facing the air transport sector in trying to keep pace with growing demand, financial limitations and environmental restrictions. Clearly, the project is of strategic national importance and has the potential to deliver huge impacts for the global future air transport system, in terms of increased capacity, lower emissions and significant cost savings. This exciting project will integrate expertise from industry and academia to tackle these challenges head on.

“For Loughborough this project aligns extremely well with our Research Challenges and will enable us to build on our extremely successful EU research project DANSE (Developing evolution and Adaptability iN Systems of systems Engineering). The funding will allow us to really push the boundaries of our acknowledged research in virtual engineering.”

Loughborough Professors Michael Henshaw and Carys Siemieniuch will work with Professor Kalawsky on the project. They will investigate the underpinning stakeholder strategies and drivers for future air transport systems.