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The research will improve the quality and capabilities of simulation, using sights, sounds and even smells to make virtual simulation more realistic.

7 Jun 2013

Loughborough University key partner in new Jaguar Land Rover and EPSRC £10 million virtual engineering research programme

Loughborough University has been announced as a key partner in a series of new research projects that will advance the UK’s role in developing virtual simulation technologies.

The £10 million five-year Programme for Simulation Innovation (PSI) was unveiled by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Rt.Hon Dr Vince Cable MP.  It is being led by Jaguar Land Rover, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and some of the country’s leading academics.

Together they will develop the capability of the virtual simulation industry in the UK and will give manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover access to new, world-class simulation tools and processes. This is the first phase of a 20-year strategic project that could put the UK at the leading edge of virtual simulation globally.

The research will 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. This will help manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover deliver more complex new vehicle programmes more quickly. It will also help save costs in product development by reducing the reliance on physical prototypes and have environmental benefits by limiting the number of prototypes that need to be driven and tested in the real world.

Loughborough University is running two of the five projects within the programme. Dr Martin Passmore from the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering is leading a £1.8 million project to make advances in the underlying simulation techniques.  The aim is to increase the breadth and depth of available Computer Aided Engineering methods, to make simulation available throughout the engineering design process and to improve future engineering and design decisions.

Professor Charles Dickerson from the University’s Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering is leading a second £1.8 million project to develop methods to enable a comprehensive analysis of the vehicle as a complex system. This will enable better integration of the many digital features and functions of the vehicle and a shorter time to market.

Announcing the funding Dr Cable said: “With world-class universities and cutting edge companies like Jaguar Land Rover, the UK is well placed to be at the forefront of driving innovation and developing new technology. This investment will support the Government’s industrial strategy by boosting the UK’s manufacturing capability and helping to keep us globally competitive.”

The PSI project is funded by Jaguar Land Rover (£4 million), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (£4 million) and the partner universities (£2 million), 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.

Bob Joyce, Jaguar Land Rover Engineering Director, said: “While we already utilise 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.”

−ENDS−

Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 13/104

(1) All the PSI project partners are listed below:

Jaguar Land Rover
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Loughborough University
The University of Leeds
The University of Cambridge
Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG).

(2) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. www.epsrc.ac.uk

(3) Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover is the UK's largest automotive manufacturing business, built around two iconic British car brands, that designs, engineers and manufactures in the UK employing over 25,000 people. The business has ambitious plans for growth and will invest £2.75bn in the year to March 2014 on product creation and CAPEX.

(4) Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 11 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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