Formula 1 driving simulation technology could help put the UK on the fast track to self-driving vehicles
A new research programme by WMG at the University of Warwick, and XPI Simulation, co-funded by Innovate UK, is examining the potential for applying the simulation technology used to train Formula 1® drivers for the testing and certification of autonomous vehicles. The market for such vehicles is expected to reach £52 billion by 2035, according to government figures.
The new research could dramatically reduce the time to market, helping manufacturers to achieve the UK government’s vision for self-driving vehicles to be operating on our roads as early as 2021.
Several manufacturers are already testing their vehicles on public roads, with mixed results. One of the problems is the volume and repeatability of testing. Carrying out such testing on controlled tracks or on-road presents significant cost and safety challenges – as well as requiring huge amounts of mileage to be driven to gather evidence.
Transport Minister visits WMG to launch Call for Evidence on the Future of Mobility and announce 6 research projects on autonomous vehicles
Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport, visited WMG today (Monday 30th July 2018) to launch the Government’s “Call for Evidence on the Future of Mobility”. He announced six Innovate UK funded autonomous vehicle research projects, saying:
“We are beginning to experience profound change in how we move people, goods and services around the UK’s cities, towns and countryside. The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge – part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy - aims to capitalise on the opportunities presented by these changes to help reduce emissions, improve safety and wellbeing and place the UK at the forefront of global transport innovation. The Call for Evidence will help inform this programme, and seeks views from a range of audiences right across the country.”
Two of the six research projects he announced involve WMG, at the University of Warwick, with a total of £4.1m in research funding from Innovate UK
The delegation led by Mr Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons were given a tour of the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC). The Centre, which is a long-term commitment between Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, WMG and the University of Warwick, is a unique resource and the first of its kind in Europe, providing an environment to foster collaboration, cohesion and sharing knowledge, combining automotive expertise nationally and internationally.
The visitors were also shown our state-of-the-art 3xD Simulator for Intelligent Vehicles where experts explained more about Midlands Future Mobility, a £25m project led by WMG which will see roads in Coventry and Birmingham become the UK testbed for developing the next generation connected and autonomous vehicles.
Finally, Mr Chandrasekaran and his colleagues were given a tour of our Energy Innovation Centre, which is going through significant expansion, and will see WMG to continue to provide a unique facility for industry and academia to develop innovative energy storage technology.
Mr Chandrasekaran and his colleagues was very interested to see for themselves some of the WMG projects and commented on the quality of research and innovative approach to R&D.
On 11 July, our Dr Antony Allen and students from Richard Crosse Primary School in Staffordshire went to Rockingham Speedway to compete in the Greenpower Formula Goblin event. We first met the children from class five back in January when they won a competition ran by the Advanced Propulsion Centre to become one of eight schools presented with a Greenpower Goblin kit car. Each winning school was then partnered with an APC Spoke, in this case WMG as the Energy Spoke, who provide financial support and mentoring throughout the electric vehicle build along with driver training ahead of race day.
On race day the team competed in six Slaloms, six Sprints and one Grandprix event. They picked up a fantastic four awards: IET Formula Goblin Participation Award; Rockingham Goblins 2018 Slalom: 3rd place; Rockingham Goblins 2018 Best Presented Team; and Rockingham Goblins 2018 Spirit of Greenpower Award.
The Spirit of Greenpower was awarded in recognition of the way the school have embraced the Greenpower project this year, involving the whole school in the car bodywork design, entering individual and group portfolios of their work, their weekly video-diaries on YouTube, their twitter account, and articles in the village magazine and local district newspaper.
Maria Farrington, a parent of one of the students said ‘I just wish to express my thanks to Dr Allen and the School, for supporting the Rockingham Raceway Project. It was a pleasure to accompany the children today and feel that they also should be congratulated on their behaviour away from school. It was a thoroughly enjoyable outing and an experience the children will remember for a long while’.
Check out the video on their YouTube channel.
The students enjoyed a tour of the APC showcase and our engineering hall where they were introduced to the Warwick Racing student team and shown our state-of-the-art 3xD Simulator. They also took part in a number of activities throughout the day, including a steering wheel CAD design session and paper rocket making and launching.
We first met the children, from class five, back in January when they won a competition run by the APC to become one of eight schools presented with a Greenpower Goblin kit car. Each winning school was then partnered with an APC Spoke, in this case WMG as the APC Energy Spoke, who provide financial support and mentoring throughout the electric vehicle build along with driver training ahead of the race.
Construction of their go-kart kit car is now almost complete. The next stage of the project is for the children to race against other teams at Rockingham Speedway in July. We’ll keep you updated on how their race day goes.
Formula Goblin has been set up with help from the Greenpower Education Trust to address the skills gap that is growing in the UK automotive industry by engaging students in engineering at a young age. It is designed to engage students with maths, science and design technology in a fun way, promoting equality regardless of economic background and gender.
The initiative is supported by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, the APC and the APC Spoke Community, made up of six of the UK’s leading universities each focussing on R&D of key technology areas in the automotive industry.
Notes to editors:
The APC is a £1 billion, 10-year programme to position the UK as a global centre of excellence for low carbon powertrain development and production.
The APC Spokes form a national network to support industry with specialist academic, technological and commercial expertise. The Spokes are designed to provide access to the best expertise and facilities the UK has to offer in key strategic technologies for the automotive industry.
Each of the Spokes is hosted by an organisation with recognised expertise in those key technologies, but the fundamental role of the Spoke is to coordinate a community of common interest. WMG at the University of Warwick is the Electrical Energy Storage Spoke.
The full list of school/Spoke partnerships are:
Advanced Propulsion Centre – Stoke Primary School
- DETC (Loughborough London University) – Curwen Primary School
- Loughborough University – Fairfield Primary Academy
- Newcastle University – Bournmoor Primary School
- Newcastle University – Kings Priory School
- Newcastle University – Northburn Primary School
- Nottingham University – Abbey Road Primary School
- WMG – The Richard Crosse C of E Primary School
Lampposts could be the answer to electric vehicle charging, thanks to help from researchers at WMG, University of Warwick in bringing a new brand of charging points to market – some of which are powering electric vehicles on the University campus.
Startup company char.gy created a new electric vehicle charging point product – which can be easily installed onto existing lampposts, resulting in no requirement to add another power supply or dig up the road or pathway – but it required a bespoke electronic circuit board in order for it to meet to EU standards for public charge points.
The SME support team at WMG helped char.gy rapidly design, build and test a prototype of the new electronics board in order to achieve the certification deadlines.
Because of this, char.gy was able to complete the product to time, and send it for testing – eventually making the charge points ready for public use.
The University of Warwick not only supported the development of char.gy, but has also purchased “char.gys” to charge electric vehicles across the campus – including the University Estates Team’s new fleet of battery-powered Nissan vans.
Researchers at our Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH) have been working, with the health and fitness app Sweatcoin, to develop a new verification process that will now allow indoor steps to be tracked for the first time.
Sweatcoin monitors steps throughout the day, via an app downloaded to a smartphone. Users are rewarded with one Sweatcoin (SWC) per every 1,000 steps. The digital currency can then be redeemed for items including magazines, clothing, music downloads and even televisions.
Previously the app was only capable of tracking outdoor steps - a big disadvantage for those with active jobs indoors or even those using the gym.
The 12-month project, funded by Innovate UK, collected large amounts of data from the sensors built into smartphones in parallel with step-count data recorded using high accuracy activity monitors. Researchers on the project then used this data to create a new step-verification model to work in any environment, not just outdoors.
Midlands Future Mobility will use over 50 miles of Coventry and Birmingham roads to establish the Midlands as a world class UK centre for the development, and evaluation of, connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) and related technologies and services.
Midlands Future Mobility will be at the heart of the UK’s transport network, making a significant contribution to the UK’s national transport strategy, and will play a crucial role in shaping the transport sector. It will firmly establish the UK’s presence in the connected and autonomous vehicle market, and contribute to the UK’s Industrial Strategy.
The specially selected networked roads cover a range of representative areas and will be the largest, most diverse testing environment in the UK, with the deployment of new roadside infrastructure including smart vehicle monitoring, data analytics and 5G ready wireless infrastructure. By using real-world environments Midlands Future Mobility will enable a variety of industries to test new vehicle technologies and services, with the aim of improving integration.
The future of daily urban commuting could be small, lightweight Electric L-category Vehicles (ELVs). A cost effective, energy efficient and comfortable alternative to traditional cars in cities, is at the heart of the €6.92m RESOLVE project, which included WMG at the University of Warwick.
The European project – named ‘Range of Electric Solutions for L-category Vehicles’ – designed and developed two stylish tilting four-wheeler prototype ELVs with leading European manufacturers Piaggio and KTM. These demonstrators were unveiled, and presented to representatives from the European Commission, at an event in Brussels in April 2018.
WMG was one of fourteen partners in the project, which included leading names from industry and research such as Piaggio, KTM, Bosch, Ricardo, the Austrian Institute of Technology, and the University of Florence.
Mobile telecommunication operators, infrastructure suppliers, car manufacturers, and local councils are all seeking to understand the benefit from the leap in bandwidth promised by 5G technologies, and are lining up to use the very latest 5G evaluation technology now available at the University of Warwick.
WMG at the University of Warwick has just acquired the UK’s most advanced diagnostic and testing platform for a key part of the 5G spectrum - mmWave. This technology promises to deliver a step change in the amount of data that can be wirelessly transmitted, opening up opportunities for a range of new services and products, including those associated with enabling connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
This has been provided by a £250,000 WMG Centre HVM Catapult award for facilities and people alongside an equipment collaboration with National Instruments (NI) for their mmWave technology platform.
WMG’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicles research team are already working with a range of industrial partners on connectivity, verification and validation, and the understanding and optimisation of user/customer interaction with driverless technology. This new facility will further enhance WMG’s vison to be the UKs “go to” CAV development platform providing unrivalled research and testing that will accelerate product introduction, infrastructure design and implementation. The technology developed will be transferable to other sectors beyond automotive.