Translating engineering science into product development

Enhancing the competitiveness and sustainability of the UK automotive and motorsport sectors

Our multi-disciplinary digital engineering research – spanning modelling and simulation, validation, and calibration methods – has delivered major cost and time savings, improved engineering processes and products, and made significant reductions in CO2 emissions in the automotive and motorsport sectors.

The strength of our relationships with our industrial partners – alongside the transfer of highly skilled researchers into senior technical leadership roles – assures the long-term impact of our research and the competitiveness and sustainability of these strategically important industries.

Our impact

Ford - enhancing performance and sustainability

  • Dynamic powertrain calibration technology is saving Ford ≈$12 million pa in development costs
  • It is featured in approx 1.5 million engines (2015-20) - reducing CO2 by 7.5 million tonnes every year
  • Novel powertrain mapping methods have been incorporated in more than five million Ford cars a year, maintaining their reputation as a world leading brand for performance and drivability

Jaguar Land Rover - better and safer designs

  • Vehicle dynamics and off-road tyre models are enabling Jaguar Land Rover to offer better and safer designs at a reduced cost
  • They have also developed a pipeline of highly skilled technical leaders to vehicle manufacturers, equipment suppliers and Formula One teams
  • Aerodynamics research incorporated into the Jaguar Land Rover product development process is improving the stability, handling and safety of the 500,000 cars they build a year while also reducing drag

The research

For more than 20 years, we have been translating engineering science into tools and processes that improve product development, quality and capability across the automotive industry.

In powertrains, novel mapping of the engine to the driver, and the application of regression and neuro-fuzzy models for identifying complex non-linear models has resulted in revolutionary dynamic powertrain calibration methods.

Physics-based rubber friction models and new tyre models - including on deformable terrain with both soil modelling and the tyre-soil interaction - have made it possible to model off-road driving for the first time.

New approaches, for example modal decomposition-superposition and experimental modal testing, have resulted in fundamental explanation and prediction of the relationship between tyre construction and vehicle handling dynamics.

Research in computational and experimental vehicle aerodynamics and multi-physics has explored the complex aerodynamics of turbulent and separation dominated flow-fields and the associated relationship to drag, vehicle handling, and the deposition and motion of contaminants.

Research funders

  • Advanced Propulsion Centre
  • F1 Teams
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Innovate UK
  • Jaguar Land Rover

Development partners

  • Ford
  • Jaguar Land Rover

Meet the experts

Photograph of Martin Passmore

Professor Martin Passmore

Emeritus Professor of Automotive Aerodynamics

Photograph of Byron Mason

Dr Byron Mason

Senior Lecturer in Powertrains

Photograph of Gary Page

Professor Gary Page

Professor of Computational Aerodynamics

Photograph of Dan O'Boy

Dr Dan O’Boy

Senior Lecturer in Structural vibration