Projects

Current Projects


Virtually Connected Hybrid Vehicle

The Virtually Connected Hybrid Vehicle (VCHV) project is a 3-year joint research study program between DETC and 6 top UK universities (Bath, Loughborough, Warwick, Newcastle, Nottingham and UCL).

It aims to demonstrate the feasibility of real-time virtual powertrain testing using distributed hardware in the loop (HiL). The objective is to have 8 PhD engineers develop 6 different hybrid powertrain sub-systems which will be distributed around the UK but tested together in real time.

Time and cost savings
The project addresses the challenges around the physical testing and validation of Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) powertrain systems. It aims to reduce the amount of time-consuming physical testing needed, and limit the cost of shipping and assembling the separate prototype components.
This will be achieved by testing the complete system in one location with eight PhD engineers spread across the project partner institutions to develop six different hybrid powertrain subsystems. These will be tested together in real-time while physically remaining distributed on independent test rigs at their host universities.

Valuable and exciting industry implications
The implications for industry are highly valuable and exciting. Virtual testing is currently estimated to account for only five per cent of total powertrain testing, mostly at an early stage. The ability to combine the facilities and expertise hosted at a range of university centres of excellence through distributed testing is expected to shorten the timescales of OEMs in developing new products by up to 12 months, accelerating the time it takes to transfer fundamental research into industry.

The eight PhD engineers will be distributed across the country with:
2 PhDs from Bath working on the Internal Combustion Engine;
2 PhDs from Loughborough working on Hybrid Controls and Communications;
1 PhD from Newcastle working on Electric Motors;
1 PhD from Nottingham working on Power Electronics;
1 PhD from UCL working on Electrical Energy Storage – Fuel Cells;
1 PhD from Warwick working on Electrical Energy Storage – Batteries.

Find out more about VCHV here.


DETC Roadmap

An essential first-step in our Centre’s work will be to map & understand the landscape of DETC both in the UK and the mega-trends globally. This activity will:

  • Facilitate industry input from executive and technical stakeholders
  • Identify the current state-of-the-art from technology and academic partners
  • Develop a current state map and identify key drivers & opportunities for future development
  • Develop a future state roadmap and skills requirements
  • Refine, validate and publish the results of the study
  • Identify a process for on-going review and adjustment

This work is planned to conclude by April 2016. The findings will feed into the Automotive Council roadmapping activity for digital engineering, and a plan for wider dissemination through papers and conferences will be announced.

Please download the full report here.


Gamification roadmap

As with the DE&T roadmapping activity, it is essential that the new area of Gaming and Gaming Technologies is mapped & understood in relation to the automotive industry before the opportunities & potential benefits can be exploited. The scope of the study has five principal technology themes which are applied to both Product and Manufacturing engineering:

  • Gaming software engines
  • Visualisation
  • Gaming hardware
  • Gamification of processes
  • Skills

The study will:

  • Develop strategic new relationships with key industry and academic players in gaming and digital media
  • Facilitate industry input from executive and technical stakeholders
  • Gather and analyse data to determine priorities for the study
  • Identify fast track opportunities for application in the Automotive Industry
  • Develop a medium- to long-term future state roadmap
  • Refine, validate and publish the results of the study
  • Identify a process for on-going review and adjustment

This work concluded in April 2016, and the findings were fed into the Automotive Council roadmapping activity for gaming technologies, and a plan for wider dissemination through papers and conferences will be announced.

Please download the full report here.

Past Projects


Automotive Lightweighting

To reduce the energy consumed by on- and off-highway vehicles, it is essential to reduce their overall mass. One of the major challenges in employing lighter materials and structures in automotive is the development of new manufacturing techniques which will meet the cost; quality; and reliability criteria which the automotive industry demands. Digital techniques offer the potential to help realise new manufacturing techniques by helping to develop & implement them, as well as train the people needed to operate them. To inform this area, this study will:

  • Investigate potential manufacturing methods to construct a strong and durable tubular shell/structural composite body shell
  • Understand potential business requirements (volume, flexibility, timing etc.)
  • Identify example machine tools and facilities
  • Harvest relevant machine tool and plant CAD data
  • Research the difference between the digital engineering tools used to model and test a contemporary body structure and a next-generation tubular/composite structure
  • Research the required digital tools and methods to model the construction of a conventional and lightweight body structure production facility
  • Design an example factory layout with representative machine tools and facilities
  • Create a high level Bill of Process

Please download the full report here.