EPSRC and Jaguar Land Rover announce £10 million virtual engineering research programme

Supplementary content information

man standing inside virtual car pointing controller towards virtual road
  • Jaguar Land Rover will lead a five year research programme with the EPSRC and four leading UK universities
  • The research projects will give the UK the opportunity to take a global lead in virtual simulation technology

Five new academic research projects that will advance the UK's role in developing virtual simulation technologies were unveiled today by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Rt.Hon Dr Vince Cable MP.

The unique £10 million five year collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and the country's leading academics 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.

Announcing the funding during a visit to WMG at the University of Warwick, 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 projects form part of the 'Programme for Simulation Innovation' (PSI), a partnership between Jaguar Land Rover and the EPSRC, Loughborough University, University of Leeds, University of Cambridge and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG).

The PSI project is funded by Jaguar Land Rover (£4 million), the 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 percent of the programme. The projects include:

  • Analysis of the vehicle as a complex system (Loughborough, Leeds)
  • Multi-physics and multi-functional simulation (Loughborough )
  • Driving simulation (Leeds)
  • High performance computing and simulation knowledge mining and abstraction (Cambridge)
  • Visualisation and virtual experience (Warwick)

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.

EPSRC's Chief Executive Professor David Delpy said: This partnership shows how the research community can work hand in hand with industry to push boundaries in science and engineering. EPSRC's role, as a sponsor of innovative research, has been to work with Jaguar Land Rover to define the longer term research needs of the industry, issue a call for proposals and facilitate robust peer review.

Notes for Editors

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.

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 £2.75 billion in the year to March 2014 on product creation and CAPEX.

The academic programmes in more detail

Analysis of the vehicle as a complex system (Loughborough University)

Develops methods to enable a comprehensive analysis of the vehicle interface complexity at vehicle to system and component levels.

Multi-physics and multi-functional simulation methods (Loughborough University)

Increases the breadth and depth of simulation methods to cover the entire set of functions and dynamics of the whole vehicle.

Driving simulation (University of Leeds)

Delivers a realistic driving and passenger experience in a fully digitally defined environment to provide feedback through the vehicle design process.

High performance computing (HPC) and Simulation knowledge mining and abstraction (University of Cambridge)

Enabling research to address the challenges of design, integration and coherence of the HPC platform through hardware, software and modelling methods and to support requirements of processing large data sets in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics and database systems.

Visualisation and virtual experience University of Warwick)

Enabling research to develop and apply improved visualisation techniques and multi-sensory experience, hardware and software to support the effectiveness of multi-discipline analysis and simulation, and effective, objective decision making.

Reference: PN 38-13