Driving innovation in the automotive industry

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Jaguar Land Rover is the UK's largest automotive manufacturer, built around two iconic British car brands: Land Rover, the world's leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles; and Jaguar, one of the world's premier luxury sports saloon and sports car marques. Employing over 42,000 people globally and supporting over 240,000 jobs through dealerships and the supply chain, the company is the UK's largest manufacturing investor in R&D having invested £12 billion over the last five years. It is firmly committed to developing the UK automotive supply chain, and close engagement with world-leading academia in the UK is strategically important to support the innovative autonomous, connected, electrified and shared vehicles of tomorrow.

Jaguar Land Rover is a member of the Business Engagement Forum (BEF) set up by EPSRC - the UK's main agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences. The forum promotes regular, two-way engagement between EPSRC and its key business stakeholders, ensuring that EPSRC-supported science meets industry's needs and effectively channels scientific learning into industrial implementation and growth.

In recent years, Jaguar Land Rover has worked closely with EPSRC to the benefit of both organisations. In 2011, the company was involved in just one EPSRC-funded project. This has now increased to the provision of support or direct funding for over 100 postgraduate researchers and for in the region of 50 EPSRC-supported research projects across nearly 20 UK universities. This rapid expansion in fundamental research investment and, in parallel, the development of world-class postgraduate talent has helped supply Jaguar Land Rover with the tools and the staff to support growth.

"EPSRC plays a vital role in enabling and supporting some of the world's most advanced academic research. We stand on the brink of the mobility revolution and see EPSRC as key in fostering the science and innovation infrastructure to help bring about that change."

Antony Harper, Director of Research, Jaguar Land Rover
Into the Age of Autonomy

Into the Age of Autonomy

With the fast-evolving fields of connectivity and autonomy increasingly recognised as fundamental game changers, it is vital to understand what this new mobility revolution will mean for the automotive sector and to take decisive steps in realising the potential. A joint, bilaterally funded research initiative between EPSRC and Jaguar Land Rover aims to achieve these goals. Involving nine UK universities and the Transport Research Laboratory, Towards Autonomy: Smart and Connected Control (TASCC) is an £11 million programme focused on developing fully autonomous cars and answering some key questions - for example, how can we ensure safe operation and how will they interact with humans and their environment?

Specific technical challenges that TASCC is addressing include: the use of radar and visible-spectrum camera sensors to detect the external environment, road conditions and other road users; integration of distributed control systems and cloud computing in vehicles; optimal use of data from autonomous vehicles and 'intelligent infrastructure'; human drivers' reaction to autonomous vehicles; and the design of systems that adapt to their users' personal characteristics.

The Road to Virtualisation

Programme for Simulation Innovation (PSi) is a joint-funded five-year collaboration with a clear aim to bring together leading academics to develop and enhance the capabilities of the UK's virtual simulation industry. With EPSRC and Jaguar Land Rover each providing £4 million in support and academic partners contributing a further £2 million, this unique initiative will give UK companies vital access to new, world-class simulation tools, skills and processes. The first phase of a 20-year strategic project, PSi has the potential to place the UK right at the global vanguard of virtual simulation.

The research will harness sights, sounds and even smells to make virtual simulation more realistic and so help engineers to assess with unprecedented accuracy exactly what a particular design might achieve. This will reduce reliance on costly physical testing and enable exploration of more parameters and possibilities. As a result, Jaguar Land Rover, for example, will be able to deliver vehicle development programmes of greater complexity more quickly, more economically and with less environmental impact than ever before.

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