Coventry University students are looking forward to the results of a Future Truck Design awards scheme to be announced later this week at the CV Show (26 April). The scheme, sponsored jointly by Mercedes-Benz UK and Volvo Group UK, challenges students to design the next safer urban truck. Top prize for the winning team in the postgraduate category is a week’s work experience at the Mercedes-Benz design studio in Wörth, Germany.
More information at www.futuretruckdesignawards.co.uk.
Also in the news. a new transport design centre, due to open at Coventry University next year, is intended to attract and develop the next generation of vehicle designers. This new class of designers will help maintain the UK’s leading position in transport design, it is hoped. Construction work has started already on the multi-million-pound National Transport Design Centre (NTDC), funded by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), along with some government support.
The NTDC will be part of the university’s Centre for Mobility and Transport, and will boast various advanced design features. A six-metre interactive “power wall” will allow students to explore detailed engineering concepts in virtual reality, while advanced clay milling equipment will allow designers to create physical vehicle models. Another planned feature of the NTDC is a projection mapping system, able to cast digital images on to 3D objects, thus helping designers assess how multiple options would appear on full-scale models.
Coventry University – Director of Strategic Initiatives
David Wright, Coventry University’s Director of Strategic Initiatives explained, “In a global transport industry that is increasingly seeing cost-saving engineering collaborations between competitors, design remains one of the most important ways manufacturers can make themselves stand out.” He went on to point out, “Britain, and indeed Coventry as a city, has always been a leader in this field, but what is clear from the Automotive Council’s latest report – The Value of Design in the UK Automotive Sector 2016 – is that creative skills like design and modelling will soon be in short supply if an ageing workforce retires without capable graduates and trainees coming through.
“Our aim with the National Transport Design Centre is to meet this demand for specialised skills, building on Coventry University’s existing expertise in transport design with a range of new courses and research programmes. Not only that, but we’ll be ensuring the centre is open for business for companies in the transport sector – whether automotive, rail, aerospace or marine – to work with us.”
The UK has a strong international reputation for automotive design, and this strength in the early stages of the product development cycle is critical in successful product sales and in attracting further R&D work.
Alongside established education providers such as Coventry University and the Royal College of Art, tier one suppliers such as Futura, Majenta, Contechs and Envisage have also begun to provide their own apprenticeships to serve the automotive and commercial vehicle industries, and address headcount issues.