· The Warwick Boring Team is a student-led project designing, creating and building a tunnelling machine, which they are currently racing at Elon Musk’s tunnelling competition organised by the boring company
· Whilst at the competition in Las Vegas, the team are able to unveil their innovative machine
· The team head home on the 12th September, and hope to bring home an award with them
A team of students called The Warwick Boring Team are in Las Vegas, Nevada to competing in Elon Musk’s the Boring Company’s tunnelling competition, where they are showcasing their innovative machine for the first time.
A group of 27 students, known as the Warwick Boring Team are in Nevada, USA, competing in Elon Musk’s the Boring Company Tunnelling competition.
Current tunnelling machines are 14x slower than a snail, and cost from $100million to $1billion per mile, therefore the race to make a faster and cheaper machine is heating up.
Having been shortlisted as one of 12 teams out of nearly 400, the Warwick Boring Team aim to make our transport greener, cheaper and faster in future with their novel tunnelling machine, which will be competing against other top Universities including MIT, TUM and ETH Zurich, and industry tunnelling professionals.
With support from the School of Engineering, WMG, numerous other sponsors in the industry and the University of Warwick the students have made a machine that once scaled up the design is expected to be 80% faster than standard machines that typically dig one mile in 8-12 weeks. Moreover, the aim is to dig at a cost that is 10X cheaper than traditional machines that typically would cost $100m - $1bn per mile to construct tunnels we use today.
Sanzhar Taizhan, Founder and Co-Project Lead at Warwick Boring comments:
“After almost a year of creating, designing and building we are thrilled to see the machine here in the flesh and finished and finally in Vegas competing. The entire team have worked flat out for the last few months to get it together once we were allowed in the labs after the COVID-19 restrictions eased.
“We are so excited to see our machine working and see how it compares to other competitors. I am so proud of the team to making it to this stage no matter what the outcome is once we are out there.”
Tanner Hatzmann, the technical director at Warwick Boring adds:
“It would typically take years to create, design and build a novel machine, however we have been able to do it over the last year, even during lockdowns. The Warwick Boring tunnelling machine is exciting as it has – unique features here –. We cannot wait to see it in action and have everything crossed for a win.”
10 SEPTEMBER 2021
NOTES TO EDITORS
High-res images available at:
Caption: The Warwick Boring team in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA with their tunnelling machine
Credit: University of Warwick
Caption: The Warwick Boring team in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Credit: University of Warwick
Caption: The Warwick Boring team in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Credit: University of Warwick
For further information please contact:
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
The University of Warwick is not just backing today’s CBI report ‘Greener Miles: Delivering on a net-zero vision for commuting’ – which calls on businesses to shoulder greater responsibility for ensuring their workers adopting greener travel habits – it has already taken action. The University of Warwick is already on route with a two year extensive programme to cut personal car use on campus and therefore reduce emissions. WMG, at the University of Warwick, is also deep into a suite of intense research programmes that will help industry, the public sector and consumers across the UK and beyond find sustainable transport solutions which will cut emissions.
The new report published today (Friday 30th April 2021) by the CBI and KPMG and entitled Greener Miles: Delivering on a net-zero vision for commuting – has proposed a series of recommendations designed to cut travel emissions ahead of the Government’s upcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan. Key among those recommendations is a call for businesses to shoulder greater responsibility for ensuring their workers adopt greener travel habits.
In fact, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has already teamed up with the University of Warwick on a two-year programme to do just that:
E-scooters, buses on demand, Enterprise Car Club vehicles and the Betterpoints sustainable travel app are just some of the innovative transport projects that form part of this two-year ‘Choose Your Way Warwick’ trial encouraging participants to adopt more sustainable transport choices and receive rewards for greener travel.
The trial will look at how the use of new transport solutions like e-scooters, or a car club can affect travel behaviour and replace traditional car use in and around the University campus area.
The projects include:
The University has also made a travel policy commitment sets out that travel by train is to be the default mode of transport for journeys under 6 hours and a departmental ‘green levy’ will be charged for any air travel.
The University of Warwick’s Provost Professor Chris Ennew said of this and all the University’s sustainability initiatives:
“Warwick has always been a forward-facing university and today is no different. We know the way ahead has to lead to a better, more sustainable, relationship between people and the planet. As one of the region’s largest employers, we know Warwick has a critical role to play. We have a responsibility as a community and organisation to moderate our individual actions, our research and teaching, and how we run and develop our University. We aim to reach net zero carbon from our direct emissions and the energy we buy by 2030 and to achieve net Zero carbon emissions from emissions arising from procured goods and services by 2050.”
WMG, at the University of Warwick, are also already working with companies and organisations on a range of research programmes to support the sort of sustainable transport that will help deliver the “net-zero vision for commuting” sought in today’s CBI report and the governments Ten Point plan.
Professor David Greenwood, Professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems in WMG said:
“As the UK transitions to net zero carbon by 2050, we must ask whether and how we will commute to work in the future. A personally owned car will not be the only possible answer, and alongside our work on electrifying cars, WMG has strong interests in light rail solutions as well as increasingly autonomous vehicles. Two-wheelers and micromobility will also have a more important role to play, and our research here includes consideration of future regulation and road infrastructure as well as vehicle development and trials. All of these rely on batteries and electrification which also form a significant part of our research portfolio. “
Here are just three of WMG’s sustainable transport research projects:
Note for Editors
For further information please contact:
Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Media Relations
Chief Communications Officer’s Group, University of Warwick
Mobile/Cell: 07767 655860 UK +44 (0)7767 655860 International
30th April 2021
WMG commends the advances to UK innovation, skills and industrial growth made by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and supports NAO recommendations to further improve impact
- Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has brought government, business and researchers together at scale and at pace, supporting over 1,600 innovation projects, including Coventry’s UK Battery Industrialisation Centre
- NAO right to support streamlining start-up and approvals processes of up to 72 weeks, which can deter bids, especially among smaller businesses
- Longer term visibility of funding will be needed to give investment confidence to businesses and academia
- Mechanisms to engage private sector finance should be considered – especially as innovations become ready for market
- As industry faces challenges of the pandemic, flexibility in financing bids, especially to support smaller businesses, should be considered
- Regional and Skills strategies should be a key part of innovation funding approach
- The Catapult network provides an established and successful platform for innovation, and its geographic locations also suggest it could play a big role in regional levelling-up
- Skills must be developed alongside innovation to give the UK the ability to exploit our ISFC investments. WMG, at the University of Warwick, have been pioneers in developing skills programmes alongside innovation and industrialisation
WMG at the University of Warwick has welcomed today’s National Audit Office report on the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, supporting their positive assessment of the fund, and backed their calls for a more streamlined approach to innovation funding, alongside a greater emphasis on the importance of innovation for regional development and skills growth.
Professor Dave Greenwood, Director of Industrial Engagement at WMG, University of Warwick and Chief Executive of the WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult said:
“The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) has been a powerful tool to support innovation that meets the most pressing national challenges.
“The ISCF has bought government, business and researchers together at scale, and at pace, to help our transport industry decarbonise through the Faraday Battery Challenge, and is delivering vital vaccine capacity through the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre. It has supported over 1,600 projects, including the new UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry, with over forty per cent of support in the first two waves going to small and Micro companies.
“These projects are making a difference to UK innovation, skills and industrial growth, and these successes should be celebrated.
“As the report says, however, there are always opportunities to improve how the Fund operates.
“First, we need to make the funding process faster and more agile – especially given rapid changes in the external Business and social environment, from Brexit to the Pandemic. Lengthy Approvals processes of up to 72 weeks for selecting challenges and awarding projects can deter bids, especially among smaller businesses.
“Alongside this, with much of industry dealing with financial pressures from the pandemic, government should consider relaxing some of the funding constraints on the programmes – especially where they fall significantly short of what state aid would allow, such as in the co-investment requirement from Industry, which was increased in Wave 3 of the Fund.
“Together, these steps would help position the UK for clean growth post-COVID and deliver on opportunities created for the UK supply chain by the UK/EU trade agreement.
“Looking forward, it’s essential that there is a long-term funding package in place to support the Industrial Strategy Challenges. As the report notes “The Fund was part of a one-year settlement in the spending review in November 2020.” Short term spending decisions will ultimately be detrimental to large scale industrial and academic investments – a 5 year rolling funding horizon is needed for full confidence from Industry partners. To help deliver this, we should consider the role of private finance in these programmes, and what mechanisms might de-risk industry investments to support clean growth.
“It’s also crucial that the ISCF supports regional development as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. Currently, almost half of funding has gone to projects in London and the South East, and while we in the West Midlands have secured significant investment, the ISCF should reflect the regional profile of Industrial R&D more closely. It is notable that government funding relative to private sector investment is much lower in the Midlands than in the South East for instance.
The Catapult network, with centres of excellence across the country, strong links to regional industries, and good networking between them, is an exemplar of how levelling up should be delivered. This established and successful platform could provide an efficient and effective means to boost R&D in under-represented regions in accordance with the recommendations of this report.
“We also need to link innovation spending to the education and skills agenda. The UK needs not just the best technologies but also the people to develop, manufacture and support them. These cannot be developed in isolation. Here, WMGs approach of delivering innovation and skills programmes together and in partnership with industry is an established model, allowing degree apprenticeships, re-training, lifelong learning to support industry innovation programmes. As the Government considers responses to the skills white paper, it should consider how future industry skills needs will be shaped by the innovations being delivered by the challenge fund, from transport electrification to digital skills.
- The issue of how long a battery pack will remain in useful operation, to guarantee a warranty for an electric vehicle battery, is a challenge faced by most car manufacturers, as they haven’t been around long enough for them to know their full lifetime
- Working as part of an APC6 funded project, WMG at the University of Warwick developed a battery model capable of forecasting the battery health for realistic usage cases
- Researchers at WMG experimentally tested the batteries for several usage cases and the model predicted the evolution of battery health with 98% accuracy
Extensive research, carried out by researchers from WMG, University of Warwick included characterisation, performance, safety and degradation testing of an EV battery, with degradation being the key focus to understand the impact on battery pack warranty.
To predict the degradation of the battery capacity researchers had to build a complex battery model, incorporating the key physics that causes batteries to age. The model was capable to predict scenarios under which a battery health will gradually fade and fulfil the warranty requirements and scenarios where the battery health will suddenly decrease after a certain usage duration.
Knowing when a battery’s health, can suddenly decrease, known as the ‘knee-point’ effect is a hotly studied problem among lithium-ion battery researchers. Researchers found that, for the particular battery investigated, by avoiding deep discharges and reducing the number of fast-charging a week, enabled the battery to perform and last the expected lifetime of the battery pack.
The aged cells were subsequently disassembled and examined for failure evidences. Fully discharging the battery at different rates demonstrated a thin film to deposit on the electrode and deform the electrode causing the active material in the batteries to delaminate. These effects can bring about a sudden reduction in the battery health.
Dr Dhammika Widanalage, from WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“We worked with the project partners to understand the needs of the battery ageing model and the usage scenarios. Using the data from our laboratories, we were then able to calibrate our model and also predict the voltage response and capacity fade of the battery under new usage cases with a very high accuracy of around 98%.”
- Everyone can suffer from motion sickness, and around one in three are known to be highly susceptible to motion sickness
- Motion sickness can occur during car travel, at sea, using virtual reality headsets and is expected to be a significant factor in self-driving car
- A cognitive training tool designed by researchers at WMG, University of Warwick has been proven to help ‘train the brain’ to reduce motion sickness by over 50%
Visuospatial training exercises can train the brain to reduce motion sickness, providing a potential remedy for future passengers riding in autonomous vehicles. Researchers at WMG, University of Warwick reduced motion sickness by over 50% using the training tool and it was found to be effective in both a driving simulator and on-road experimentation.
Everyone can experience motion sickness, with 1 in 3 of us being highly susceptible to motion sickness. Motion sickness, sometimes referred to as travel sickness usually can occur during travel in cars and boats, but also when using virtual reality headsets or in a simulator.
With the concept of autonomous vehicles coming closer to our roads, the need to reduce motion sickness is more apparent than ever. It is expected that due to potential vehicle designs and people’s desire to engage in non-driving related tasks such as reading or watching films, motion sickness will be a significant factor for vehicle occupants.
In fact, if we were able to reduce motion sickness so much that people could read and work in future cars, it’s predicted that this productivity boost could be worth as much as US$508billion per year according to Morgan Stanley.
Considering the number of people affected, relatively little research has been done into motion sickness, especially not into motion sickness and autonomous vehicles.
However, in the paper ‘A Novel Method for Reducing Motion Sickness Susceptibility through Training Visuospatial Ability – A Two-Part Study’, published in the journal Applied Ergonomics, researchers from WMG, University of Warwick have been successful in reducing motion sickness.
In the project, researchers have found by using visuospatial training you can essentially train the brain to reduce motion sickness by over 50%.
Participants in the study went in either the WMG 3xD simulator for a driving simulator trial, or on an on-road trial where they were driven around as passengers, imitating what it would be like to be in an autonomous vehicle.
Baseline motion sickness was first measured during their initial ride, using a verity of pre-validated questionnaires, to report severity of the symptoms. A ‘fast motion sickness scale’, was also used to capture ‘real-time’ symptoms as participants were asked to rate their sickness every minute on a scale of 0-20 considering nausea, discomfort, and stomach problems.
After their first run, participants completed various pen-and-paper visuospatial training tasks, once per day for 15 minutes per day, for 2 weeks. This included exercises such as a looking at a pattern of boxes that and having to identify which image out of three is the original just rotated, paper folding tasks and understand spatial patterns.
After the training period, participants took part in another motion sickness assessment and it was recorded that motion sickness reduced by 51% in the driving simulator, and 58% in the on-road trial.
Dr Joseph Smyth, from WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“Being able to reduce an individual’s personal susceptibility to motion-sickness using simple ‘brain training style’ tasks training is a massive step-forward in the development of future transport systems, including autonomous vehicles. Human factors research is all about how we can design products and services that are pleasurable. Motion sickness has, for a long time, been a significant limitation to many peoples transport options and this research has shown a new method for how we can address this.
“I hope that in the future we can optimise the training into a short, highly impactful method. Imagine if when someone is waiting for a test-drive in a new autonomous vehicle they could sit in the showroom and do some ‘brain training puzzles’ on a tablet before going out in the car, therefore reducing their risk of sickness. It’s also very likely this method can be used in other domains such as sea-sickness for navy staff or cruise passengers. We are particularly excited about applying this new finding to Virtual Reality headset use.”
Pete Bennett, from Jaguar Land Rover comments:
“Making our future autonomous vehicles as user friendly as possible is key, and motion sickness is something we knew we needed to research as so many people experience it even now as a passenger.
“The research done by WMG has shown that motion sickness can be reduced, and we can incorporate the research into our future vehicle design process.”
Around 1000 face masks, donated by Beijing City University in China to the University of Warwick, will be given to NHS key workers across Warwickshire on the front line against COVID-19.
The University of Warwick community is now working to distribute these masks to social care services in North and South Warwickshire, via the NHS Incident Management Teams.
The face masks will be utilised in care homes, hospices, and district care services, where the current supply of personal protective equipment is very low.
Some of the masks will also be used to keep students and frontline workers who remain on the Warwick campus safe.
This weekend, the British Medical Association declared that all key workers should be given a face mask to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
This donation was made by Professor Liu Lin, President of Beijing City University — an institution with which WMG has a long-standing education partnership.
WMG has collaborated with Beijing City University since 2012 to deliver its Programme and Project Management Masters courses in China.
Professor Stuart Croft, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick, said: “The Warwick community of students, staff, and partners stretches to every continent on the planet, and its heart is here in Coventry and Warwickshire. On behalf of this community, I thank Professor Liu Lin for the supply of face masks, which will enable us to help keep our neighbours who are most in need safe during this pandemic.
“Together, we are striving to beat the virus – and we will achieve this through co-operation across international borders, driving forward vital research, and supporting our local healthcare workers.”
Margot James is the newly appointed Executive Chair of WMG at the University of Warwick. She commented: “The struggle against this pandemic is global, and it is local. We will only succeed in the fight against COVID-19 by collaborating with our partners around the world, and by protecting key workers in our communities who are on the front line.
“We at WMG and the wider University of Warwick are very grateful for the generosity of Professor Liu Lin and our friends at Beijing City University — and we are proud to draw upon our established international links to support the health and welfare of our region, at a time when the need is greater than ever.”
This is one of numerous ways in which the University of Warwick has worked with its Chinese partners to support the fight against COVID-19 in the UK.
Last week, it was announced that Professors from Warwick’s Department of Engineering have been working with the Association of British Chinese Professors in raising funds to purchase personal protective equipment for ten UK hospitals.
They secured 2400 face masks for hospitals in London, as well as 3500 safety goggles and 7000 full face visors, which were donated to seven hospitals in London, Cambridge, Birmingham and Coventry.
The University of Warwick is delighted to announce the appointment of former Minister Margot James as the new Executive Chair of WMG. She takes up the role in April.
The University of Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Croft said
“This is a fantastic appointment. Margot brings a wealth of leadership experience from Government and industry to WMG.She is ideally placed to lead WMG as it celebrates its 40th Anniversary year as it continues to grow and diversify, building on the outstanding foundations established under its former Chairman the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya”.
She served as Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with responsibility for Digital, Telecoms and the Creative Industries, piloting the Data Protection Bill through Parliament, incorporating GDPR into UK law. Previously she served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with responsibility for small businesses, consumers and corporate governance, including labor markets.
In 1985, Margot founded Shire Health Group which she grew to over 100 staff, having created a new market for industry sponsored public health campaigns.In 2004 she successfully transitioned Shire Health Group to the multinational WPP.Subsequently, she served on the Europe, Middle East and Africa Board of Ogilvy Mather, leading their European healthcare programmes.
“I am delighted to have been appointed Executive Chair of WMG, University of Warwick.It will be a real privilege to work with the exceptional academics and researchers from industry who are based at, or partnered with, WMG to grow this unique institution.I would like to pay tribute to the vision and dedication of WMG’s founder and chairman; the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya who led WMG in a constant quest for the latest innovations and new technologies.
“As well as world leading research with impact, WMG are educating the next generation of engineers and technologists.Throughout my career in business and government I have championed the need to expand opportunities for diverse groups of young people and I am inspired by the range of different opportunities on offer at WMG.”
“I look forward to bringing to WMG my experience as minister for digital and the creative industries, and prior to that business minister, as well as my time spent building up my business which provided marketing insights and services to the healthcare industry.”
On the appointment, the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said:
“WMG plays a highly important role within the region and with my knowledge of Margot, and experience of working with her, I am sure that she will provide strong leadership enabling WMG to continue its beneficial impact in the region”.
The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, who worked closely with late Professor Lord Bhattacharyya for many years, stated
“I am pleased to see Margot James with whom I worked closely in government appointed to this post. Margot’s thorough understanding of the national policy debate and her experience of leading and working with organisations across a range of sectors, and her personal drive and enthusiasm will be ideal for WMG.”
On Thursday, (13th February), four leading transportation start-ups visited WMG to learn more about Cyber Security for Automotive, Cooperative Vehicles and Intelligent Vehicles. The companies recently won a start-up competition at the New Mobility Challenge at CoMotion, Los Angeles.
The visit was initiated by the UK’s Science and Innovation Network (SIN) in the USA, who identified Warwick and the West Midlands as a priority for their visit to the UK.
Accompanying the delegation was Matthew Melling, Vice-Consul, Trade & Investment Officer from the UK’s Department for Trade and Investment (DIT), in Los Angeles and Brendan Vickers, North America lead for Innovate UK.
Professor Carsten Maple, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (North America) said; “It was a pleasure to host such innovative start-up companies and share our expertise. The group were particularly interested in the tour of our battery facility at the Energy Innovation Centre and to see the Cooperative Vehicle in action. As we refine our strategy for North America, this was a fantastic opportunity to showcase Warwick at its very best with key stakeholders from the region.”
The companies were: