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CAD image of a vehicle interior, showing the driver position

Nissan Technical Centre Europe

  • Novel driving position underpins compact environmentally friendly vehicle designs

Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) is the R&D division of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd.

Based in Cranfield, it has specific responsibility for R&D related to European market production and advanced engineering projects.

The challenge

The Nissan Green Program commits the company to reducing its vehicles’ CO2 emissions.

NTCE’s challenge was to reduce light commercial vehicle CO2 emissions by minimising overall length and weight whilst retaining maximum cargo space. In an innovative move, the company decided to investigate the feasibility of a novel, space-saving driving position.

This required a comprehensive ergonomic study to develop and test variants of the new driving position to ensure human safety, operation and comfort.

The solution

A 12-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Loughborough Design School provided NTCE with access to extensive ergonomics expertise and the advanced test facilities required to undertake this research.

The project – part funded by Innovate UK – combined the University’s ergonomic expertise with NTCE’s vehicle development capability to study driving posture ergonomics, build test rigs, and define how posture can be optimised.

The benefits

The collaboration enabled NTCE engineers to develop core ergonomics skills and expertise, and provided specific ergonomic data for the global Nissan Engineering Standards to help influence future vehicle design.

The partnership also established the University as one of Nissan’s global academic partners for R&D related to ergonomics and posture development.

The research allowed us to prove the novel driving posture, and then propose continuous studies to enhance the concept and get it market-ready. All of this was made possible with support from Loughborough University.

Bob Bateman
Senior Engineer - Nissan Technical Centre Europe