At the end of each month on our website we’ll feature a roundup of the news that’s grabbed our attention from across our industry. We might not cover all of our sectors every month, but watch this space!
Coventry-based joint venture will be powerhouse for UK auto electrification
The UK looks set to become a powerhouse for battery technology. Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group have created a joint venture, Hyperbat, the UK’s largest independent vehicle battery manufacturer. Hyperbat will open the a multi-million pound facility in Coventry in 2019, creating about 90 new jobs as it manufactures batteries for the electric and hybrid vehicles of the future. The UK’s sizeable domestic and export market, worth about 1.7 million and 1.3 million cars annually, will create a massive demand for electrification, with its planned all-electric production deadline of 2040 meaning every manufacturer now has an electrification strategy.
Business Secretary Greg Clarke has welcomed the joint venture, saying that "Hybrid and electric vehicles will play a key part in Britain's cleaner and greener future,” and describing the facility as “inspired by a government funded Advanced Propulsion Centre project,” and one that “will develop new vehicle battery technologies and create high-skilled jobs in Coventry.”
FIM Moto2™ 2019 season could be triumph for Triumph.
Following on from the announcement that Triumph Motorcycles will be the exclusive engine supplier to the FIM Moto2TM World Championship from the 2019 season onwards, the brand is ramping up its testing programme. Its three-year contract with Dorna, the commercial rights holder of MotoGPTM, means Triumph will supply a dedicated race-tuned 765cc Triumph triple engine, based on the powerplant from the 2017 Triumph Street Triple. Earlier this year, bikes using the new engines were matching 2018 lap times after only two days’ testing, so great things are expected of the new units, with 2019 looking set to break records.
UK talent required to drive production of driverless cars
The Centre for Economics and Business Research has published analysis predicting that over 37,000 UK jobs could be created by 2035 due to the switch to driverless cars, but suggests many roles could remain unfilled due to a “colossal skills shortage”. The Transport Systems Catapult has warned that the transport sector must invest in intelligent mobility if the UK is not to lose ground to other countries in a market potentially worth £1.4tn by 2030.
The government has pledged that fully autonomous cars will be on the road by 2021, with a predicted rise in autonomous vehicle jobs of 9.6% annually from 2020. However, with only the University of Salford offering undergraduate degrees specifically designed for the industry and university and apprenticeship enrolments not following commercial demand, it is likely that too few young people will gain the relevant skills to meet industry requirements. UK businesses, universities and government must take action to address the potential skills gap – a challenge the team at Gerrell & Hard is doing its bit to address right now.
Manufacturing & Tech
Could 5G be the next transformative tech?
Hologram-based communication via our mobile phones may seems like the stuff of Hollywood dream-makers, but could be a reality within five years thanks to new 5G mobile broadband networks. 5G technology will allow devices to handle huge amounts of data at high speeds, with significant impact on the role mobile devices play in our daily lives. Although holographics currently require virtual reality headgear, virtual reality could in the near future “just sprout out of a phone” and could be used for video, games, phone calls or industrial applications.
With tests having already been carried out that allow people to interact or artists to perform together over considerable distances, 5G offers enormous potential for collaboration in any context, from virtual conferences and shows to professional team-working across international boundaries. The power of 5G is likely to allow phones to become far more interactive and functional, for example in displaying amenities to tourists as they travel through a city.
London Transport Museum inspires tomorrow’s engineers
The need to inspire the engineers of the future is hardly a secret; one of the stories in this news roundup alone deals with a foreseen - and sizeable - skills gap within the autonomous car market. So it’s commendable that the London Transport Museum is taking its own approach to engaging with the engineering talent of tomorrow, with a hands-on exhibit aimed at inspiring future engineers.
According to “The Engineer” Magazine, as of Friday 19th October, the museum’s new Future Engineers gallery will feature “a series of hands-on interactive exhibits aimed at helping young people explore the world of transport engineering and understand the sheer range of different jobs that an engineer might do in the future.”
The exhibit will also allow young people to see what type of engineer they might become by working out their personality type and selecting a suitable future job – “before taking the ultimate selfie with a photograph of themselves in their new engineering role on a digital cover of The Engineer magazine”.
What a great idea! Learn more from our source: https://www.theengineer.co.uk/london-transport-museum-exhibit/
Another significant senior appointment heralds exciting times for Lotus.
Phil Popham has been appointed Senior Vice-President for Commercial Operations at Group Lotus and CEO of Lotus Sports Cars. His position will be effective from 1st October 2018. Phil was previously CEO at Sunseeker and has occupied executive roles at Jaguar Land Rover where he held global responsibility for commercial operations. This represents significant further strategic positioning for Lotus as it readies itself for growth under the ownership of the Chinese Geely group.